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Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline Shut Down After Pump Fire Near Coldfoot

The trans-Alaska Pipeline remained shut down Wednesday night after a fire erupted at a pump station near the Arctic Circle, pipeline and state officials said.

No injuries were reported, Michelle Egan, a spokeswoman for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., which operates the 800-mile-long oil pipeline, told NBC station KTUU of Anchorage.

Image: The Trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station
The trans-Alaska pipeline, shown in this file photo, remained shut down after the fire at a pump station near the Arctic Circle. AL GRILLO / AP File

Egan said that the fire hasn't spread but the situation is still too dangerous to send investigators.

"We're observing the tank to see if that activity slows down," said Egan, who said it had been many years since a fire had shut down the 40-year-old facility, which transports an average of 545,000 barrels of oil — or nearly 23 million gallons — every day.

An employee noticed smoke and flames coming from a pressure vacuum vent about 2:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. ET) at the pipeline's pump station in the Coldfoot area near the Arctic Circle, Egan told KTUU.

All 58 employees on site were evacuated, and the pipeline will remain closed until officials can safely restart the oil flow, she said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said it is also monitoring the fire and has set up an incident management team.

Alyeska operates the pipeline on behalf of its owners, primarily BP, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.