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One Killed, Three Injured in Oil Platform Blast in Gulf

An explosion at an out-of-production oil and gas platform Thursday about 12 miles off the coast of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico killed one person and injured three others, the platform's operator and U.S. officials said.

Fieldwood Energy of Houston said the explosion occurred as workers from a cleaning company, Turnkey Cleaning Services, were performing maintenance on a “heater treater,” which is machinery that separates oil from water. The company characterized the explosion as a pressure blast, and said there was no fire and the incident did not involve the platform’s wells.

One of the hurt workers suffered “visible injuries” while the other two were treated after complaining of ringing in their ears, and by Friday all had been released from the hospital, the company said.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family of the deceased Turnkey Cleaning Services employee,” Fieldwood Energy said in a statement.

Chauntra Rideaux, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said Fieldwood reported the explosion on its Echo Platform about 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET) and that the agency is investigating.

— M. Alex Johnson