Explosion Injures Six After Barge Strikes A Pipeline In


Coast Guard crews respond to a dredge on fire in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Aug. 21, 2020. A Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched to the scene, hoisted two injured crewmembers and transferred them to Corpus Christi Medical Center - Bay Area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard crews respond to a dredge on fire in the Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Aug. 21, 2020. A Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched to the scene, hoisted two injured crewmembers and transferred them to Corpus Christi Medical Center – Bay Area. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Six people have been hospitalized for injuries caused by a pipeline explosion in Corpus Christi’s port and refinery district, the Associated Press reports.

The explosion and subsequent fire were reported at about 8 a.m. local time near Nueces Bay in the northern part of the city after a barge struck a pipeline in the water, Corpus Christi Police Department Deputy Chief Billy Breedlove told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Corpus Christi Fire Department Chief Robert Rocha told the newspaper that six people were transported to a hospital and two additional people refused treatment, but didn’t reveal details about the extent of the injuries.

“We’re trying to get a headcount of everybody that may have been involved or anybody who may have been around when the incident occurred,” Rocha said.

Port Corpus Christi authorities said the fire involved a natural gas pipeline, and that operators have isolated the line and are working with emergency responders and stakeholders to contain the incident and ensure area safety.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a safety zone in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Inner Harbor, from the Inner Harbor Bridge (U.S. Hwy 181) to the Viola Turning Basin.

State and local emergency crews are on scene responding to the fire, and authorities are encouraging people to avoid the area, though port officials said there is no threat to public safety. Videos shared on social media show flames and a large plume of black smoke in the area.

“The State of Texas is working closely with local partners in Corpus Christi as well as the Coast Guard to assist with emergency response efforts following the explosion,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas Department of Public Safety personnel are already on the ground to provide support, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is monitoring air quality in the area.”

Abbott said the state could provide additional personnel and resources if required.

As home to a number of oil refineries and shipping terminals, Corpus Christi is the third largest port in the U.S. and Texas’ top port for crude oil exports.

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