Barges Explode in Mobile Bay - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Barges Explode in Mobile Bay

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Mobile, AL -

Two barges exploding, flames and smoke shooting into the sky. Folks all around Mobile Bay felt the shock.

"Felt a blast, heard what I thought was thunder, and thought it couldn't be thunder, it was too loud, too big. I felt it go through me, felt the building shake, felt the ground shake," says John Atkinson who is visiting Mobile from Los Angeles.

"I hear this loud explosion, kind of felt the house shake a little bit," says onlooker Carlos Serrano.

Reports of people as far away as Bay Minette saying they felt the blast and not knowing at first what the cause was.

"Wasn't sure what it was. I heard there was this big carnival ship, I thought maybe it was that, I don't know. Then I got down here and saw the flames," says Atkinson.

"Kind of thought maybe my neighbors were getting into a fight with someone or a car ran into another car," says Serrano.

Officials saying the barges were carrying liquefied natural gas. The barges were being emptied and were possibly in the process of being cleaned when a static charge was thought to have ignited the chemicals.

"Yeah it definitely kind of took a step back, I was leaning against the wall, kind of bracing myself cause I guess I could feel the impact from it. At first I was just hoping no one nearby was feeling a bit worse than I did," says Serrano.

Three people reportedly taken to the hospital, listed in critical condition. Police keeping onlookers at a distance. Austal and crew members onboard the Carnival cruise ship Triumph being evacuated. Officials saying they would wait until the fuel burned off before letting firefighters get close enough to try to put the flames out.

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