Fairbanks, AK (vicinity) Oil Pipeline Blast, July 1977

Pump Station  8 ALASKA after blast 1977.jpg Pump Station  8 ALASKA after blast 1977 3.jpg Pump Station  8 ALASKA after blast 1977 2.jpg


Fairbanks, Alaska (AP) -- A major explosion and fire ripped through the main building at Pump Station No. 8 on the Trans-Alaska pipeline Friday afternoon, a spokesman for ALyeska Pipeline Service Co. said. The pipeline was shut down immediately.
Officials were unable to give an exact number of injured in the explosion. Within two hours of the incident five persons had been hospitalized in area hospitals and a sixth was treated and released.
One of the injured had serious burns, but was no considered in critical condition.
The fire which began at 4:45 p.m. ADT, was under control by 10:45 p.m. ADT and was burning out.
Alyaska said oil leaked out to a distance of 200 yards from the pump station but did not reach several large storage tanks, and the storage tanks were not damaged . Oil had begun passing through the pump station early Friday and had continued 30 miles to the south by the time the explosion occurred.
The building was a mass of twisted steel and rubble. The damage was contained to the station and not the entire complex, according to KJNP reporter COOK, who saw the building from a distance.
Reporters were not allowed into the complex which contains several buildings.
COOK also said, "The walls were buckled and bent in. Walls and girders have collapsed in on the structure. A large amount of equipment was destroyed as exploding oil spread over them. Many workers at the site were pretty well herded into one area for safety purposes."
It was the second shutdown of oil movement this week as a result of problems at Pump Station No. 8. A nitrogen leak Monday afternoon caused a Friday shutdown. The station is at milepost 488.
Alyeska the consortium of eight oil companies that operates the line, said one pump was operating in the station when the explosion occurred and a second was beginning operation. The pumps which develop 13,500 horsepower, push the oil through the 48 inch pipe.
Workmen at the scene said they were starting up a second pump when some kind of obstruction developed in a wire mesh screen, apparently diverting oil from the pipe into the turbine. The crude oil is highly cumbustible.
Oil began flowing in the pipeline June 20 with Alyeska estimating that it would take about 30 days for oil to travel to the pipeline port of Valdez. Tanker's will take the oil from Valdez to markets in the lower 48 states.
An Alyeska spokesman said the pipe itself apparently was not seriously damaged and they theoretically could bypass the station using other pumps. There are 12 pump stations to push the oil south.

Listing of Casualties:
CHARLES GARRETT LINDSEY, 39, of 12 Mile Badger Road.
WILLIAM E. HELLER, treated and released.
DON AMBUEHL, treated and released.
HERBERT C. ROBSON, lacerated arm, good condition.
HARRY FINLEY, smoke inhalation, good condition.
F. W. FOSBERG, smoke inhalation and minor burns, good condition.

Casa Grande Dispatch Arizona 1977-07-09