Hilcorp’s Baker platform catches fire in Cook Inlet

A plume of smoke rises from Hilcorp's Baker platform where firefighters are battling a fire that broke out at at 7:30 a.m. Thursday near Nikiski, Alaska.-Rashah McChesney/Morris News Service-Peninsula Clarion

A plume of smoke rises from Hilcorp's Baker platform where firefighters are battling a fire that broke out at at 7:30 a.m. Thursday near Nikiski, Alaska.-Rashah McChesney/Morris News Service-Peninsula Clarion

12:30 p.m. update

The Coast Guard and the state Division of Oil and Gas are reporting that the fire on Hilcorp’s Baker platform is under control.

“Last I heard, the fire was still being fought, but it is basically smoldering at this point,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert, a public affairs officer.

Eggert said there are no reports of pollution at this time.

11:35 a.m. update

A gas drilling platform caught fire near Nikiski at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.  

The smoke plume from Hilcorp’s Baker platform is visible for several miles as firefighting vessels try to contain the blaze.

The fire broke out in the crew quarters at about 7:30 a.m., said Lori Nelson, spokeswoman for Hilcorp. While the exact cause has yet to be determined, the fire has hit no “process areas,” yet, she said.

The four crew members on board the platform were evacuated by a Hilcorp helicopter by 8 a.m., Nelson said.

The fire was reported to the Coast Guard at about 8:30 a.m., and several vessels are still trying to contain it, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert, public affairs officer. 

While Nikiski Fire Department and the Cook Inlet Spill Prevention & Response Inc., responded to the fire, both deferred questions to the Baker platform operator, Hilcorp.

Bud Sexton, public information officer for the Nikiski Fire Department, said that none of the personnel who had been evacuated from the platform were injured. 

Production on the platform was stopped so there are no additional fuels being added to the fire, though about 20,000 gallons of product are stored on the platform, Eggert said. 

“We don’t know if all of that is flammable,” he said. 

Nelson said firefighting vessels and personnel from CISPRI were working to contain the fire. 

The Ocean Marine Services Inc., or OMSI, vessel Discovery is on scene and the CISPRI vessel Endeavor is on its way, Nelson said. 

The Coast Guard and Hilcorp are headed to Nikiski to set up an incident command center, Eggert said. The Coast Guard has established a 2 mile safety zone around the platform and is flying an HC-130 Hercules crew crew and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene. The Coast Guard cutter Mustang has also been dispatched from Seward, though none of the Coast Guard craft have made it to the scene, Eggert said. 

In addition to the 2 mile safety zone, the Coast Guard has also instituted a 5 mile no-fly zone around the platform, according to a media release. 

Once the Coast Guard responds, it will primarily work in an oversight position. 

“Hilcorp is the responsible party, so they’re doing everything they can to put the fire out,” Eggert said. “We’re there to make sure everything is done safely, clean up and investigate the cause.”

This is a breaking  news story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

 

10:35 a.m. update

A gas drilling platform caught fire near Nikiski Thursday morning. 

The smoke plume from Hilcorp’s Baker platform is visible for several miles as firefighters continue to battle the blaze.

The fire was reported to the Coast Guard at about 8:30 a.m., and several vessels are still trying to contain it, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert, public affairs officer. 

Eggert said a helicopter lifted four men off of the platform and he was unaware of any other personnel on board.  

While Nikiski Fire Department and the Cook Inlet Spill Prevention & Response Inc., responded to the fire, both deferred questions to the Baker platform operator, Hilcorp.

Hilcorp public affairs officer, Lori Nelson, was boarding a plane when contacted by the Clarion and said she would have more information after she landed.

Bud Sexton, public information officer for the Nikiski Fire Department, said that none of the personnel who had been evacuated from the platform were injured. 

Production on the platform was stopped so there are no additional fuels being added to the fire, though about 20,000 gallons of product are stored on the platform, Eggert said. 

“We don’t know if all of that is flammable,” he said. 

The Coast Guard and Hilcorp are headed to Nikiski to set up an incident command center, Eggert said. The Coast Guard has established a 2 mile safety zone around the platform and is flying a C130 Hercules crew and an MH60 helicopter crew to the scene. The Coast Guard cutter Mustang has also been dispatched from Seward, though none of the Coast Guard craft have made it to the scene, Eggert said. 

Once the Coast Guard responds, it will primarily work in an oversight position. 

“Hilcorp is the responsible party, so they’re doing everything they can to put the fire out,” Eggert said. “We’re there to make sure everything is done safely, clean up and investigate the cause.”

This is a breaking  news story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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