KENNER, LA. - A fire continues to burn on an oil platform in Lake Pontchartrain more than nine hours after an explosion Sunday night that injured several people.
According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, eight people were aboard the oil platform at the time of the explosion around 8 p.m. Sunday. Seven people were hurt, and deputies say the eighth person is unaccounted for.
Several witnesses told WWL-TV that they heard a loud boom and their homes shook Sunday night.
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Five workers were transported to University Medical Center with injuries ranging from burns to "blasts." The other two workers were taken to the East Jefferson General Hospital and are in stable condition.
"We are treating it as a search and rescue," Sheriff Joe Lopinto said.
There are boat and helicopter crews on scene conducting the search for that person as of late Sunday into Monday morning. The Coast Guard said that the person missing is a man and his name is not being released at this time.
The platform is located in shallow water about a mile and a half from the Kenner boat launch.
Jefferson Parish officials tell Eyewitness News that the workers were cleaning chemicals aboard the platform but the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Arson investigators will determine the cause after the fire has burned out.
Patrick Courreges at the Department of Natural Resources confirmed to Eyewitness News reporter David Hammer that the owner of the platform is Clovelly Oil Co., based on Poydras Street. The platform is a production platform called a co-mingling facility where they draw oil from several different oil fields.
The environmental impact is also known at this time, officials say the platform is not a drilling rig and is only used to store oil until it can be transported to land.
Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni said the parish's drinking water was not affected by the incident because the water is drawn from the Mississippi River.
Parish officials and JPSO have scheduled an 8 a.m. press conference to update on the fire.
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Jefferson County Parish and St. Charles Parish also have marine units on scene assisting.
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