One worker still missing in Phillips 66 pipeline fire

Staff and wire services

PARADIS, La. — An unidentified Phillips 66 employee was still missing Friday following a fire at a pipeline here operated by the Houston refiner, authorities said.

A Thursday night explosion sparked the fire at the company’s pipeline station in St. Charles Parish. The company said two contract workers were injured.

About 60 residents were evacuated Thursday night. The parish Sheriff’s Office said in a midday news release that the evacuation was lifted, but people must show proof of residence to enter the area.

The company said the pipeline carried liquid natural gas components. Flow to the pipeline was blocked but the remaining product was still burning and it was unclear when the fire might end. Authorities said the fire had significantly decreased.

The Louisiana Department of the Natural Resources will lead the investigation into the explosion once the fire burns out, said Patrick Courreges, the agency’s spokesman. The explosion occurred about one mile from the processing plant, where workers were preparing to do maintenance work at the time.

The investigation will focus on whether all of the proper protocols were followed, the status and safety of the equipment, and n whether the workers were properly trained and licensed to conduct the activities, Courreges said.