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Amazing News Video. "The sky lit up in orange..." (won't embed).

Major update:

The blaze was extinguished early Thursday, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega... The cause of the fire, which started Wednesday night, remained under investigation, but it was believed to be accidental, Mobile Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman said in a statement.
Fox News
Fortunately, no deaths have been reported. From the Huffington Post:
Two barges containing natural gas have reportedly exploded on the east side of the Mobile River in Alabama on Wednesday evening.

One barge blew up around 8:30 p.m. and is currently on fire, WALA-TV reported. Details are still coming in on the other ship.

From RT:
Three large explosions on a fuel barge in Mobile, Alabama could be felt from miles away in Spanish Fort and Daphne, Alabama, over 10 miles away across the river, according to local reports.
Mobile Fire-Rescue @MobileFRD

UPDATE: two barges with natural gas exploded. Three injured and transported to hospital  They were reportedly empty.

You can't make this stuff up:
The fires burned near the docking area of the Carnival Triumph, he added. The Triumph has been based at the BAE Shipyard in the Port of Mobile since an engine fire in February left it crippled and adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with more than 4,200 people aboard.

For four days, tugboats guided the disabled ship into the port as passengers complained about miserable conditions onboard.


You can't make this stuff up, part 2

Earlier this month, the cruise ship was dislodged from its mooring by a windstorm that also caused two shipyard workers to fall into Mobile Bay. While one worker was rescued, the other's body was pulled from the water more than a week later.

7:56 PM PT: Okay, the explosion does seem to have taken place in Mobile itself; "It happened between the Bankhead tunnel and waterways;"

7:59 PM PT:
Cal Fire News ‏@CalFireNews 2m


 Cal Fire News ‏@CalFireNews 5m


 Cal Fire News ‏@CalFireNews 21m


8:03 PM PT: This tweet seems appropriate:


8:21 PM PT:

There has been no damage reported to either the Bankhead or the George C. Wallace tunnels from explosions on two natural gas barges in the Mobile River Wednesday night.

According to Steve Huffman, spokesman for Mobile Fire Rescue, there has been no   damage to roadways in the area, either.
8:41 PM PT:
MOBILE, Ala (WALA) - UPDATE: 10:07 p.m. - Mobile Mayor Sam Jones said Mobile Fire-Rescue will let the fire burn out on its own to prevent further injuries.

9:38 PM PT:

The fuel barge was at Oil Recovery Company of Alabama's Marine Gas Free Facility at 200 Dunlap Drive on the Mobile River's east bank, and was partially emptied, according to Steve Huffman, spokesperson for Mobile Fire-Rescue.

Mobile City Councilman William Carroll, who was at the scene, said the explosions were triggered by a static charge...

The first blast rattled windows in houses in downtown Mobile and blew doors open in homes in Spanish Fort, news outlets reported.  The aftershocks were also reported in Bay Minette and Fort Morgan.
9:52 PM PT:
U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Eric King said a 1-mile safety zone has been established around the barges and the shipping channel was closed as firefighters allowed the fires to burn.

Thu Apr 25, 2013 at  6:14 AM PT: From the New York Times:

One of the barges was an empty fuel barge that was at the dock for cleaning...

Greg Beuerman, a spokesman for the owner of the barges, Kirby Inland Marine of Houston, told The Associated Press that the barges had been carrying natural gasoline, a volatile fuel that can be recovered from natural gas.

Fire Department vehicles tried to get near the blaze but it was too intense, causing air bags in one of their vehicles to deploy from roughly 200 yards away.

The chief of the Mobile Fire Department, Stephen A. Dean, told that he was unsure how much fuel was aboard the barges, contributing to the uncertainty of the situation...
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