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The New York Times: Fire Engulfs Tanker at Port of Providence

EXTRACT: Darci Sinclair, a spokeswoman for Motiva, said the company was not immediately sure what the ship was carrying when the fire started. Sinclair said the cause was under investigation, and Motiva’s emergency responders were en route to the scene.
 
The Article

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: July 19, 2006
Filed at 12:34 a.m. ET

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Fire engulfed a tanker ship at the Port of Providence on Tuesday night, sending large plumes of smoke and fireballs into the air.

It was not yet known if anyone was injured, and it was not immediately clear what was fueling the blaze.

Paul Doughty, president of the Providence firefighter’s union, told WPRI-TV that the fire was at four alarms and every Providence firefighter was on the scene.

He told WPRI that preliminary reports were that lightning had struck the ship. A lightning storm swept through Providence on Tuesday night.

Truck driver John Garrett said he was parked near the port facility when he saw a bolt of lightning, followed by an explosion and a large fireball.

Garrett said he could feel the heat from the initial explosion several hundred feet away in a nearby parking lot. ”I’ve never seen anything in the world like this,” he said.

The ship was burning very close to large storage tanks at the port, although it was unknown whether the tanks on shore had anything flammable in them. Doughty told WPRI the ship was away from the dock.

WJAR-TV reported that a small shack at the port was also burning.

The fire happened at a terminal owned by Motiva Enterprises, a Houston-based joint operation between Saudi Refining Inc. and Shell Oil Co.

Darci Sinclair, a spokeswoman for Motiva, said the company was not immediately sure what the ship was carrying when the fire started. Sinclair said the cause was under investigation, and Motiva’s emergency responders were en route to the scene.

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