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Update: La. oil platform explosion injures 7; 1 worker missing

An oil platform exploded in Lake Pontchartrain, La., late Oct. 15, sending seven people to the hospital while an eighth person remains missing.

A Facebook update from the city of Kenner said the explosion was caused by cleaning chemicals igniting on the platform’s surface. However, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said during an Oct. 16 news conference that the matter was still under investigation.

Jefferson Parish, Kenner, St. Charles Parish, St. John Parish, the Coast Guard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, and other organizations are working together in response to the incident. The fire, which had been burning at low pressure was extinguished at around noon of Oct. 16.

The platform is a storage rig that feeds from other active rigs within the area, said Lopinto during the conference, where it was also noted that no oil sheen has been seen.

"When the sheriff and I went out this morning along with his crew, with his staff, we did make entry onto the rig and found ... a gas line. That gas line has been shut off," East Bank Consolidated Fire Department Chief David Tibbets said.

The platform is owned by Clovelly Oil Co., the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Oct. 16. Reuters noted that Clovelly is the only oil company operating in Lake Pontchartrain and has two or three active oil and gas wells at the site, according to former President Harald Werner.