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Servicemen Injured After US Navy Ship Catches Fire



USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) and USS Boxer (LHD-4) | Servicemen Injured After US Navy Ship Catches Fire | Featured

San Diego’s typically beautiful skyline was a fuming fog on Sunday, thanks to a massive fire that broke out on the USS Bonhomme Richard. The ship was docked at Naval Base San Diego when the fire broke out. The accident resulted in injuries among several sailors and sent a cloud of smoke over the city.

Government Agencies Respond

The Navy was not alone as it battled the blaze. Federal Fire San Diego was on the scene shortly after the fire broke out. It lead non-naval efforts to combat the fire.

Division Chef Rob Bondurant said in a statement: “Currently there are two firefighting teams fighting the fire aboard the ship. 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.” He added that “Navy Region Southwest tugs are also continuously combatting the fire from the bay.”

All nearby vehicles and equipment were evacuated in order to make firefighting efforts easier. It also helped in keeping Navy assets safe.

Investigators Explore Cause

As the fire came under control, the Navy was already rushing to figure out the source of the destructive fire. Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck, commander of the ship’s larger Strike Group, told reporters on Sunday night that there was nothing toxic onboard the ship. The black smoke that swelled out of the ship was caused by office and other more mundane items burning.

As reported by the Navy Times, The high-ranking naval officer went on to explain that the Navy believes the fire started in the lower cargo hold of the ship, known as the “Deep V.”

“It’s a huge open area where you store a lot of (Marine Corps) equipment and everything else. That’s where we believe it started,” the report also added.

Fires on Ships: A Uniquely Dangerous Situation

In an interview on a local news station, a former Rear Admiral said that the Navy’s response to such a fire is similar in many ways to how civilian fire departments would respond. The first priority is the safety of those aboard the ship. Roughly 20 sailors have been hospitalized, largely with injuries due to smoke inhalation. However, the crew was fortunate to be docked on land. All sailors were safely evacuated from the ship shortly after the fire broke out, and no deaths have been reported.

Ships present a double-edged sword for fire control. Though large sections of the boat can be sealed off to try to keep the fire in check, the men and women onboard have little options to escape the fire if it gets out of control. The key to containing such a blaze is to plan out where the fire is going to be. The responders also need to keep it from spreading there. Such fires will continue to creep upward, searching for oxygen to keep them going.

In the event of a naval battle, keeping inevitable fires in check is perhaps the most decisive factor in a ship’s survival. For this reason, all sailors are said to have two jobs, firefighting and whatever else they do. The Navy trains its personnel extensively on how to fight fires, and while there are specialists, everyone on board a ship has a role in preventing as well as responding to fires at sea.

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