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Oil platform explodes on Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner

17 October 2017

An explosion hit an oil platform on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana Sunday night, injuring seven people and possibly leaving one person unaccounted for, according to Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.

It's owned by Clovelly Oil Co. of New Orleans, which has been working the lake's oil field since the early 1970s, company spokesman Tim O'Leary said.

Officials said one person was believed to be unaccounted for. He said the department's current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely. The state's Department of Natural Resources confirmed that the valve on the line from the gas well was turned off, but natural gas continued to burn through Monday morning.

Sheriff Joe Lopinto said that some of the victims lived in the New Orleans area.

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The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation, as will the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

Authorities have not released the name of the missing worker, but said they have contacted the person's family.

Lopinto said the platform is a natural gas storage location that feeds from other nearby rigs.

Officials say the platform is about a mile and a half from the Kenner Boat Launch. The Kenner government Facebook page said authorities on the scene reported that cleaning chemicals had ignited on the structure, but the company said the cause of the blast was unknown. Nor could he say how the workers were removed from the platform or what caused the fire.

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Lopinto said there does not appear to be an environmental impact at this time is also known at this time.

The seven injured people were taken to the hospital.

The Coast Guard was being aided by St. John and St. Charles parishes, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, the City of Kenner, the Jefferson Parish East Bank Consolidated Fire Department and East Jefferson Hospital.

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Oil platform explodes on Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner