Natural Gas Platform Explosion

The Coast Guard will investigate a fire and explosion on a natural gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico not far from Galveston. Jim Bell reports.

The fire and explosion happened just before midnight last night on the High Island 264, a floating natural gas platform about 90 miles southeast of Galveston.  Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Prentice Danner says a passing ship evacuated the 39 man crew safely and there were no injuries.  He says quick thinking by the crew kept water pollution to a minimum.

"Thanks to the crew hitting that emergency supply valve shutoff before they left, it turned potentially large event into a small one."  

Danner says the fire burned most of the night but is now out.  Next comes the investigation.

"Once the plant is deemed safe for us to reboard, we will do an investigation to try to find the cause of the fire and explosion, and to survey the extent of the damage, but it will be up to the owner to decide what he wants to do from there."

The platform is owned and operated by Enterprise Products, a large natural gas exploration and production company based in Houston.  The High Island 264 is one of six offshore platforms owned by Enterprise Products.