A barge that caught fire early Sunday morning about a mile east of the Huey P. Long bridge in New Orleans is now sinking, the Coast Guard said Sunday night.
"As water accumulated during the firefighting efforts, the barge, loaded with scrap cars, began to sink. Responders from Sector New Orleans are on scene to evaluate the potential for pollution," a Coast Guard news release says.
The Coast Guard will ultimately extinguish the fire by removing enflamed trash items that were onboard the barge, Jefferson Parish Fire Chief Dave Tibbetts said.
JPFD firefighters were dispatched at 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning, according to Tibbetts, and arrived on the scene five minutes later to find a barge enflamed and billowing smoke.
There was no access to the fire at the time, but JPFD tried to contain the fire by utilizing another barge next to the enflamed one and ferrying firefighters to it by tugboat.
No one was aboard the barge when it caught fire, and its cause is not yet known, according to Tibbetts. He added that the barge is pinned to the batture on the Jefferson Parish side of the river and was carrying crushed cars as cargo.
Tibbetts said JPFD is still working to figure out who owns the barge.
No injuries have been reported.