Leaky pump sends fire crews to refinery

Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Tesoro Alaska Co. called Nikiski Fire Department for backup Tuesday when the seal on a pump in its Nikiski refinery began to leak.

There was no fire, though, and Tesoro controlled the leak before the Nikiski firefighters arrived, said Shawn Brown, the refinery's superintendent of pipelines and terminals.

Brown said failed seals release a fine mist of fuel. The leak Tuesday was on a pump in the refinery production area. When it occurred, workers shut down the pump, blocked the pipes that feed it and depressurized the system.

"Everything went the way it was supposed to," Brown said.

Very little fuel leaked, he said, and what leaked landed on a concrete slab. He had no estimate of the volume of the spill. Refinery workers will clean it up and wash down the area, he said.

The refinery fire brigade responded, and Tesoro called Nikiski Fire Department at about 1:40 p.m. for backup.

Nikiski sent 10 firefighters with two engines, a rescue truck and a staff vehicle, said Battalion Chief Warren Isham. However, Nikiski firefighters simply stood by at the refinery gate while Tesoro handled the incident.

Kenai Fire Department sent an engine to man the Nikiski station in case of a second call.

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