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Tugboat engine room fire restricts river traffic Wednesday night

(AP) — The Coast Guard says an engine room fire on a tugboat restricted traffic Wednesday on a five-mile stretch of the Mississippi River, but the restrictions were lifted Thursday morning.

The fire aboard the George King has been extinguished.

Coast Guard official said the fire occurred near Port Gipson.

A news release says the George King’s nine crew members all escaped safely after reporting the engine room fire about 8:50 p.m. Wednesday near Vicksburg.

The George King is owned by Marquette Transportation Company, LLC out of  Paducah, Ky.

Petty Officer Brandon Giles says that another tugboat, the C. Michael Reeves, pushed the George King and its tow of 30 empty barges to the bank, where it was secured.

He says firefighting efforts were unsuccessful, but the fire burned itself out. He says that by midmorning Thursday, it was only smoldering.

Giles says boom was set out around the George King, but the vessel did not appear to be leaking any diesel fuel.United States Environmental Services has set boom and absorbent pads around the George King with no reports of pollution.

The George King has an estimated 65,000 gallons of diesel on board.