Three injured after towboat catches fire in New Orleans

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(NEW ORLEANS) — A towboat pushing six barges caught fire Monday on the Mississippi River, then hit another vessel as the towboat attempted to dock, injuring three people, The Times-Picayune reported.

The engine aboard Uncle Robert caught fire near the Poland Avenue Wharf at about 12:30 p.m., according to the New Orleans Harbor Police and the New Orleans Fire Department. When firefighters arrived about 10 minutes later, there was heavy smoke billowing from the towboat. The Port of New Orleans came to assist with its fireboat, Kelly. 

A fire department spokesman said that when the crew on Uncle Robert realized their vessel was on fire, they attempted to dock it, but struck another vessel in the process. Three deck hands on the second boat were brought to the hospital with injuries described as minor.

One of the barges in the tow broke free and damaged the Poland Avenue Wharf. Another loose barge hit a barge that was tied to a nearby vessel.

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By Professional Mariner Staff