Update, 2:15 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 -- A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Quality says that so far, no threat of environmental impact has been detected.

DEQ Inspectors were at the platform Monday morning and sampled the air around the platform, according to Greg Langley.

Once the search and rescue operations for the lone remaining worker are complete, DEQ will will conduct more tests, he said.

Update, 12:20 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 -- A spokesman for Clovelly Oil, the company that owns the platform that exploded Sunday night, confirmed that the platform was undergoing maintenance when it exploded.

The platform serves as a place where oil from three wells and natural gas from one well are stored until they are offloaded onto barges and shipped out, Tim O'Leary said.

The tanks where the oil and gas are stored are near the bottom of the platform, he said. An earlier report from Jefferson Parish Government said the fire may have begun in a tank on the platform's third floor. 

Update, 11:15 a.m., Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 -- The explosion on an oil and gas platform in Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday night occurred on the third floor of the structure, though the cause still has not been determined.

Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni's office said investigators are currently searching the rig for any more information on what caused the explosion, which some Kenner residents said they could hear and feel from their homes.

One of the two victims sent to the the burn unit in Baton Rouge is in serious condition, the other is in fair condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Rescue teams are still searching for the missing victim.

There's no sign of pollution in the lake from the explosion, the Coast Guard said Monday morning.

The fire on the platform has been extinguished.


Original story, 8:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 -- Rescue crews continued searching Monday for a missing crew worker after an oil and gas platform exploded in Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday and sent seven others to the hospital.

Officials made entry onto the platform and found that a two-inch natural gas valve is still burning off residual gas, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said Monday. Officials have yet to find any visible sheen on the lake, and here does not appear to be "any environmental concern" at this time, Lopinto said.

It is unclear what exactly was being stored on the platform owned by Clovelly Oil Co. of New Orleans. The platform functions as a transfer station, taking in oil and gas from other rigs in the lake and storing the material until it can be shipped out by barge. 

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The gas line has been shut off and will "burn itself out," East Bank Consolidated Fire Department Chief Dave Tibbetts said.

"We feel confident from a firefighter aspect that we have control of this situation at the present time," Tibbetts said. 

The gas line is one mile long and could burn off by the end of the day, but the time frame was not immediately clear, officials said.

The U.S. Coast Guard has covered 30 square miles in its search for the missing crew member and has coordinated efforts with state and local officials, a spokesman said. Officials have made contact with the crew member's family but have not released any information.

"The family needs time to grieve and we need time to find him," Lopinto said.

Lopinto said that despite strong winds and 4- to 5-foot rolling waves on the lake Monday morning, the rescue effort has the necessary boats on the water to search for the missing person.

While there was also a crew boat out near the platform at the time of the explosion, it was not immediately clear whether some of those injured had been on the crew boat or if they were all from the platform. 

Michael Guillot, director of EMS for East Jefferson General Hospital, said that the two people who went to East Jefferson overnight and two of the five people who went to University Medical Center in New Orleans have been discharged. Of the remaining three, one was admitted to UMC in critical condition, and the other two were taken to the burn unit in Baton Rouge. 

Officials said on Sunday that the massive explosion may have occurred after cleaning chemicals on the platform ignited during some kind of maintenance operation. Lopinto could not confirm the cause of the explosion on Monday morning.

Officials with Kenner and Jefferson Parish said they were inundated with phone calls and social media chatter about a loud boom in the lake starting about 7:18 p.m. Sunday. They later determined it came from the Clovelly Oil platform.

Lopinto and Tibbetts had been out on the platform Monday and said that large sections of it are charred and destroyed.

They said a representative from the company also had been out to the site. 

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Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn said on Monday that there have been no reports of structure damage. 

Local government officials said the fire was still burning hours after the rescue of seven crew members and the start of the search for the one person reported to be missing. 

Several government agencies, including various boats and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, were involved in the search for the missing crew member.