PARADIS, La. (AP) — A Phillips 66 employee remains unaccounted for after an explosion sparked a fire at a pipeline station it operates west of New Orleans, the company said in a statement.
Six people were working at the site in Paradis, Louisiana, when it caught fire around 7 p.m. Thursday, and two of them were taken to hospitals, the company said.
One of them was taken to a burn center, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said.
A helicopter was being brought in Friday to help search for the unaccounted worker, the sheriff said.
“The pipeline has been blocked in and the remaining product in the line continues to burn,” the company said in its statement. “Our first priority is ensuring the safety of our workers, responders and the community.”
At a late Thursday news conference, the sheriff said the pipeline was acting as “a big blow torch,” and said it might take several hours or even days for the remaining product to burn off.
The pipeline carries raw natural gas liquids and extends from Venice to Paradis, Louisiana, the company said in the statement.
Sixty homes were evacuated and highways were being diverted around the area in Paradis, which is about 30 miles west of New Orleans.
The two injured workers were both contract employees, and the worker who remains unaccounted for works for Phillips 66, the company said.