U.S. News

Missing worker believed dead in Phillips 66 pipeline blast

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A worker missing since a Thursday night explosion at a Phillips 66 natural gas liquids pipeline station in Louisiana is believed dead, the company said on Saturday.

The on-going fire at the onshore Paradis, Louisiana, pipeline station has forced a gas pipeline and two production facilities to curtail or shut production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The body of the missing worker, identified as Josh Helms, of Thibodaux, Louisiana, is thought to be near the site of the fire, which continued to burn on Saturday, Phillips 66 said in a statement. The blaze, though reduced in size, still prevented searchers from reaching the site on Saturday.

Helms joined Phillips 66 when the company acquired the River Parish pipeline system in November. Helms has worked on pipelines for eight years.

A contract worker also injured in the blast remains in a local hospital, but is expected to make a full recovery, the company said.

The explosion caused the evacuation of 60 homes in Paradis, a community of 1,200 located 30 minutes west of New Orleans. Residents were allowed to return to their homes on Friday.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Leslie Adler