Mississippi River reopened after barge fire

Saturday, February 3rd 2007, 3:00 pm
By: News On 6

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) _ The Mississippi River reopened to traffic a day after a burning barge shut it down, the U.S. Coast Guard said Saturday.

Traffic began moving through the area on Friday night, said Coast Guard public affairs officer Lt. Leon McClain.

The barge, which was carrying crude oil, hit the Mississippi River railroad bridge in Vicksburg on Thursday night and burst into flames. The fire was put out on Friday and the barge's remaining oil transferred to empty tank barges, McClain said.

Robbie Wilbur, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, said Saturday that a cleanup crew would be back on Monday to clean up oil that had made it to shore.

The barge was one of four being pushed south by a vessel owned by Mandeville, La.-based Florida Marine Transportation.

Company spokesman Brian O'Daniels said in a statement that crude oil sprayed onto the top of the vessel after it struck the bridge, and was ignited by a spark.