On Sunday, a fire and explosion broke out in a US Navy ship docked in San Diego, California. When fire and explosion occurred around 8:30 a.m., there were about 21 individuals injured as a result of the accident. The chief of naval operations confirmed that amongst the injured were 4 civilians and 17 sailors.
The ship that had the accident is the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault vessel that was docked in its homeport in San Diego, California. The vessel is in port for much-needed maintenance to get it ready for its voyage, according to Reuters.
The naval-operations chief wrote a post on Twitter, claiming that the Navy admires the quickness of the response of all persons involved. They also commend the responders for trying to quell the fire insider the ship USS Bonhomme Richard to keep it under control. He also offered thoughts and prayers to all the BHR personnel and families, including the early responders that have helped in fighting the blaze.
A smoking hulk of metal
The amphibious assault vessel measures around 844 feet long. During that morning, a thick cloud of smoke was reported coming from a big section of the ship. It was immediately surrounded with tug boats that had harbor firefighters on board. They used water cannons to douse the flames and keep it under control.
Injuries were sustained by some who responded to control the blaze. Fortunately, most of them suffered minor injuries only. A few firemen had sustained some burns and inhaled smoke during the blaze.
According to Rear Admiral Charles Brown, a US Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, they have confirmed that the sailors were injured mostly by smoke and minor burns. Of the 160 sailors that were on the ship when the fire broke out, all were counted with no missing personnel. The normal crew of the USS Bonhomme Richard is 1000 individuals but the fire broke out onboard the BHR, only a small part of the crew was present according to National Post.
Under the waterline
The alarm of the US Navy was caused by two guided-missile destroyers docked near the Bonhomme Richard. These two ships are USS Fitzgerald and USS Russell that was moved to docks a bit farther from the damaged ship in 90 minutes. The smoke that came from the BHR became more controlled at around 3 p.m. (22:00 GMT) when the blaze was checked.
Mike Raney, San Diego-based Navy spokesman, later released a statement claiming that the origin of the fire had not been determined yet. He stressed that there was no indication of foul play.
In addition to that, he claimed that munitions were off-loaded from ships when they are due for maintenance. It is a standard procedure for all ships and as part of their strict security precautions.
The fire was traced to below the waterline of the ship. Another idea is the fire was able to reach the fuel mechanisms, which is the guess of a civilian contact whom Reuters interviewed anonymously, according to Malay Mail.
USS Bonhomme Richard had its commissioning in 1998 that meant to bring Marine Corps attack helicopters with men into the front lines. It was featured in the Sci-Fi 'Battleship' with Liam Neeson and Rihanna.