updated 4/8/2008 1:23:31 PM ET 2008-04-08T17:23:31

A cruise ship on the Columbia River with 177 people aboard was evacuated early Tuesday after a fire broke out in the engine room, Coast Guard officials said. Three crew members were treated for smoke inhalation.

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The fire was quickly extinguished on the 230-foot Queen of the West. No one was injured except for the three crew members, who were treated at the scene, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dave Smith said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

The ship, carrying 124 passengers and 53 crew members, was towed to Maryhill State Park and nudged into the river bank for the evacuation shortly after 5 a.m.

The passengers and about half of the crew members were taken by bus to a hotel, and the other crew members remained aboard. The ship was to be towed 17 miles downriver to a pier near Klickitat.

The Queen of the West was built in 1995, features a three-story paddlewheel and has a maximum capacity of 142 passengers, according to the Web site of Majestic Cruise, which operates the ship.

Amy MacIver, a spokeswoman for Majestic Cruise, said the ship left Portland, Ore., on Sunday and was scheduled to return a week later.

The company offers cruises from Astoria and Portland to Clarkston, Wash., on the Columbia and Snake rivers, as well as on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers between New Orleans and Pittsburgh and between Seattle and the Alaska Panhandle.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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