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Quick work averts blast at Port of Tampa

TAMPA — A barge containing thousands of barrels of fuel caught fire while docked at the Port of Tampa Thursday morning, and authorities say a massive explosion was spared by the barge's quick-thinking crew.

The Chemical Trade barge had been off-loading different grades of diesel, unleaded gasoline and jet fuel to the Citgo Bulk Storage and Distribution Facility, 801 McCloskey Blvd., when Tampa fire officials say a fire broke out in the vessel's pump room around 1:50 a.m.

As firefighters rushed to the facility, the barge's crew closed the pump room and activated the carbon dioxide gas extinguishing system, which put out the pump room fire. Officials said the situation was under control in little more than a half- hour.

Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade said the quick action from the ship's crew prevented the fire from spreading to the barge and the Citgo facility, which contains millions of gallons of fuel.

A barge worker, described as a 49-year-old California man, was taken to Tampa General Hospital after he was treated at the port for second-degree burns to his arms and face.

Authorities have not determined what caused the fire.

Quick work averts blast at Port of Tampa 05/22/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2008 12:00am]
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