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Helicopter Rescues 2 After Oil Platform Fire

November 19, 1987|AMY MEDNICK | Times Staff Writer

Two oil workers were rescued by helicopter in waters off Huntington Beach on Wednesday after fire erupted on an offshore platform, spilling crude oil that spread for 900 yards.

The two night crew workers escaped without injury from the Unocal Corp. platform 1 1/2 miles off Bolsa Chica State Beach. Unocal spokesman Art Bentley said it was not known if the workers leaped from the 70-foot platform Eva or ran down the stairs to a loading dock and jumped into the water from there.

A Shell Oil Co. helicopter crew plucked the men from the water about 50 minutes later. Their names were not released.

The fire started at 6 a.m. when vapors in the drainage system ignited, Bentley said. The drainage system collects the runoff of oil and water from the production deck and holds it in a tank on a deck below, he said. Those flames ignited an oily film on the deck.

Activated Sprinkler

The fire activated a sprinkler system that also washed oil residue and overflow from the oil collection tanks into the water.

A short time later, a Unocal boat transporting its day crew arrived and extinguished the fire within an hour, officials said.

Clean Coastal Waters, a private company hired by Unocal, sent three boats to the site, contained the slick with a boom and removed the oil from the water, Charles Embleton, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman, said.

A spokesman for the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board said that the environmental impact of the spill was "insignificant."

The platform, which produces 1,800 barrels of oil a day, was shut down Wednesday but was scheduled to reopen today.

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