13 July 2020 04:38

Cruise ship Venezuela Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela

21 injured after an explosion and fire on a naval ship in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Flames raged for hours aboard a U.S. warship docked at Naval Base San Diego on Sunday, prompting an evacuation of the vessel and sending 21 people to the hospital with minor injuries, Navy and local fire officials said. Firefighting boats spray water onto the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard as smoke rises from a fire onboard the ship at Naval Base San Diego, as seen from Coronado, California, U.S. July 12, 2020. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department reported an explosion in conjunction with the three-alarm blaze, which broke out at about 8:30 a.m. local time aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault vessel in port for routine maintenance. Palls of thick, acrid smoke visible for miles engulfed much of the 844-foot (257 meter) warship for several hours, as about half a dozen firefighting boats in the harbor trained streams of water onto the burning vessel. Seventeen sailors and four civilians were taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, and all those who were aboard the warship - about 160 personnel - have been accounted for, the Navy said in a statement.

The Navy earlier said 18 crew members had been hurt. Rear Admiral Charles Brown, a U.S. Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said the injured sailors had mostly sustained smoke inhalation and minor burns. The vessel normally carries a crew of roughly 1,000. Around noon local time, the San Diego fire department said all of its personnel had been directed to exit the pier, while aerial footage showed the blaze appearing to grow in size. Two guided-missile destroyers docked nearby - the USS Fitzgerald and USS Russell - were moved to piers farther from the burning vessel within the next 90 minutes, the Navy said in a statement.

Smoke from the fire appeared to begin dying around 3 p.m. local time. San Diego-based Navy spokesman Mike Raney said the precise origin and cause of the blaze had yet to be determined, but there was no immediate evidence of foul play. Munitions carried aboard warships are typically offloaded before the vessels enter port for maintenance as a security precaution, he told Reuters. The fire broke out below the water-line of the ship, making it more difficult to bring under control, and likely spread to the vessel's fuel systems, according to a civilian contractor on the scene who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. The Bonhomme Richard, commissioned in 1998, is designed to carry U.S. Marine Corps attack helicopters and ground troops into battle.

As a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, it ranks as the second-largest vessel type in the Navy's fleet, surpassed only by aircraft carriers. The stricken vessel has participated in several military operations over the years and also has appeared in a pair of Hollywood films - the 2012 sci-fi action movie "Battleship," starring Liam Neeson and singer Rihanna, and "Act of Valor," which featured active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs, according to San Diego television station KGTV, an ABC News affiliate. The Bonhomme Richard ship sent up huge plumes of smoke which could be seen across San Diego (Picture: AP/Getty) A group of sailors have been injured following an explosion onboard a military ship in California, said Navy officials. A total of 18 sailors were rushed to hospital with 'non-life threatening injuries,' after a fire tore through the ship at Naval Base San Diego on Sunday. The blaze was reported shortly before 9am on USS Bonhomme Richard, followed by the explosion, said Mike Raney, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet.

Footage from the scene shows firefighters tackling the blaze as the ship sent up huge plumes of dark smoke, which was visible around San Diego. Eighteen sailors were injured (Picture: AP) Emergency crews were rushed to the scene to spray the ship with water as it was quickly evacuated. San Diego Fire Department added the sailors were being treated 'for a variety of injuries' and that the cause of the fire is under investigation. Previously, officials said at least one person was treated for smoke inhalation but it is thought the injuries suffered are minor. It was not immediately known where on the 840-foot (255-meter) amphibious assault vessel the blast and the fire occurred.

The huge plumes of smoke could be seen for miles (Picture: Getty) The blaze was reported just after 9am before it exploded (Picture: Getty) Huge crews of firefighters were deployed to the scene (Picture: AFP) It is not yet known what caused the blaze (Picture: AP) Boats spraying water cannons could be seen around the ship (Picture: AP) It is thought all injuries suffered by sailors are minor (Picture: Getty) An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway (Picture: AFP) Officials are not yet sure what caused the fire but the Bonhomme Richard, whose home port is in San Diego, was undergoing routine maintenance at the time it broke out. About 160 sailors and officers were on board, Raney said, which is far fewer than the thousand that would typically be on the ship when it's on active duty. Twenty-one people have been injured after an explosion and fire on a ship at Naval Base San Diego. The blaze was reported shortly before 9am local time on USS Bonhomme Richard, said Mike Raney, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet. Seventeen sailors and four civilians were hospitalised with "non-life threatening injuries", Mr Raney said. The ship had been undergoing maintenance work (Denis Poroy/AP)) More Previously officials said at least one person was treated for smoke inhalation. It was not immediately known where on the 840ft amphibious assault vessel the blast and the fire occurred. The flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke visible around San Diego. San Diego is the Bonhomme Richard's home port and it was undergoing routine maintenance at the time of the fire. About 160 sailors and officers were on board, Mr Raney said, which is far fewer than the thousand typically on the ship when it is on active duty. The ship has the capacity to deploy and land helicopters, smaller boats and amphibious vehicles. Two other docked ships, USS Fitzgerald and USS Russell, were moved to berths away from the fire, Mr Raney said. (CNN) Twenty-one people were injured after an explosion and fire on board a ship at the US Naval Base in San Diego, US Navy officials said. "Seventeen Sailors and four civilians are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a local hospital," the US Navy said in a statement. The sailors on the USS Bonhomme Richard had "minor injuries" from the fire and were taken to a hospital, Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Kreuzberger told CNN earlier Sunday. The sailors are in stable condition, Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck told journalists Sunday evening. All of the crew is off the ship and accounted for, according to a tweet from the US Pacific Fleet Naval Surface Forces Sunday afternoon. Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire on the ship Sunday morning, SDFD's Mónica Muñoz said. Two fires crews were still on board the ship Sunday afternoon, Federal Fire San Diego Division Chief Rob Bondurant said in a statement. "Federal Fire is rotating their crews aboard the ship with U.S. Navy firefighting crews from the waterfront to fight the fire in order to find the seat of the fire and extinguish it," Bondurant said. As of Sunday evening, firefighters were "at the seat of the fire, if you will," Sobeck said. The firefighters are clearing compartment spaces in order to close in on the fire, Sobeck said. "Sailors across this waterfront are absolutely doing a magnificent job," Sobeck said, "They are saving their ship. When the fire was first reported Sunday morning, it was said to be in the lower vehicle storage area, Sobeck said, a "huge, open area where you store a lot of marine equipment and everything else." There is no ordnance on board, Sobeck said, "which was our initial concern" in ensuring safety on and around the ship. A safety zone has been set up around the ship, he said. It's unclear what caused the explosion, Sobeck said. The ship had about a million gallons of fuel, but it's "well below" many of the heat sources, Sobeck said. The ship could burn for days, "down to the water line," San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell told CNN's Erica Hill Sunday afternoon. Sobeck, though, said the ship will probably be salvageable. "She was in a stage of repair anyway," Sobeck said. There was an explosion just as personnel were leaving the ship, Stowell said. Other ships moved away from the burning vessel The Navy has moved two nearby ships away from the scene, it said in a statement. Officials called for San Diego Fire Department's assistance about 9 a.m. local time, Muñoz told CNN. A second alarm was called at 9:09 a.m. and a third at 9:51 a.m., according to SDFD tweets. The USS Bonhomme Richard is an amphibious assault ship, according to the US Navy. There were 160 people on board when the fire started, according to the Naval Surface Forces. The ship, which has a crew of 1,000, was undergoing maintenance. The new European data protection law requires us to inform you of the following before you use our website: We use cookies and other technologies to customize your experience, perform analytics and deliver personalized advertising on our sites, apps and newsletters and across the Internet based on your interests. By clicking "I agree" below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. See our Privacy Policy and Third Party Partners to learn more about the use of data and your rights.