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Multiple explosions, fires reported on barges near Mobile, Ala.

April 24, 2013|By Matt Pearce | This post has been updated, as indicated below.

Three people were hurt in multiple explosions aboard two fuel barges in the Mobile River in Alabama on Wednesday night, according to the Mobile Fire Department.

The department said the three victims were taken to a hospital. The Coast Guard said they had been burned, and their conditions were unknown.

The fire department said the barges experienced four blasts, with the first reported about 9 p.m. The incident occurred in the vicinity of the Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that lost power in the Gulf of Mexico and later broke loose of its moorings at a Mobile shipyard.

Some areas along the river were evacuated. The fire department said a shipmaker on the east bank, Austal, had been partially evacuated as a fire burned nearby.

"Planning to let it burn," the fire department tweeted. "Still too unstable."

In a statement, the U.S. Coast Guard said a one-nautical-mile safety zone had been established around the barge, referring to it in the singular. "The barge was an empty compressed natural gas barge that was at the dock for cleaning," the Coast Guard said.

The agency was investigating the incident. 

Here are a collection of tweets from the fire department, local media and onlookers. Not all details in the tweets could be confirmed.

— George Talbot (@georgetalbot) April 25, 2013

[Updated, 9:23 p.m. April 24: This post has been updated to include the Coast Guard statement.]  

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