Firefighters are battling to put out a three-alarm blaze that is threatening to engulf the USS Bonhomme Richard naval ship docked in San Diego which is carrying roughly 1 million gallons of fuel and significant amounts of ammunition.
At least 21 people including 17 sailors and four civilians were hospitalized with minor injuries on Sunday following a massive fire and explosion on board the Navy ship at Naval Base San Diego that sent billowing plumes of smoke and ash into the sky.
‘Seventeen Sailors and four civilians are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a local hospital,’ the US Navy told CNN in a statement.
Fire and rescue crews are on the scene responding to the three-alarm fire on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) after the blaze broke out around 8.51am, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said.
About 200 sailors and officers were on board the 840-foot ship Sunday morning. San Diego is the ship’s homeport.
The vessel was undergoing routine maintenance at the time of the fire.
San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell told CNN that the ship could burn for days ‘down to the waterline.’
The US Navy said that 17 sailors and four civilians were injured by an explosion aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego on Sunday
The sailors on the USS Bonhomme Richard had ‘minor injuries’ from the fire and were taken to a hospital, according to a Navy spokesperson
Firefighters were battling a three-alarm blaze aboard the ship after the explosion took place during routine maintenance
The above image shows an aerial view of the US Navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard after the explosion
Sources told The Drive that loud explosions were heard coming from the ship, and that the source of the fire may be from below the waterline, though this information has yet to be confirmed.
The initial explosion occurred after the blaze erupted and the ship was evacuated.
Huge clouds of smoke rose from the center of the ship but it’s not clear where the fire and explosion started. Locals at the scene reported a toxic smell rising from the fire.
It is unclear what sparked the fire.
At least one person was treated for smoke inhalation. At least one injury was due to the explosion, the San Diego Fire Department said.
The sailors assigned to the ship were staying in Navy or private housing on shore and were not on board when the blaze broke out.
People pose for a picture in front of the San Diego skyline as smoke rises from a fire on board the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego
A golfer plays on as a fire burns on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego
Golfers play on as a fire burns on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego on Sunday
The image above provides another angle of the massive fire aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego on Sunday
San Diego’s top firefighter said the blaze on board the ship could burn for days ‘down to the waterline’
A massive fire and explosion on board a Navy ship at Naval Base San Diego has injured several sailors and sent billowing plumes of smoke and ash into the sky
This close up show shows how smoke enveloped the 840-foot ship Sunday morning. There were 200 sailors and officers on board at the time
The vessel was undergoing routine maintenance at the time of the fire. Naval Base San Diego is the ship’s home port. It’s still not clear what sparked the blaze
By 12.30pm PST the entire crew was cleared off the ship and accounted for and 18 people were sent to the hospital with minor injuries
When flames first erupted, a ‘duty section’ of sailors trained to fight fires was on board and responded to the threat.
The entire crew is off the ship and all have been accounted for, according to a tweet from the Naval Surface Forces, US Pacific Fleet, sent out around 12.30pm PST.
‘Everyone is off the ship and everyone is accounted for,’ Brian O’Rourke, a Navy spokesman said as per CBS8.
All crew members were accounted for, said Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.
‘We are grateful for the quick and immediate response of local, base, and shipboard firefighters aboard USS Bonhomme Richard,’ Gilday said in a statement.
The fire broke out around 8.51am on Sunday and San Diego Fire Rescue rushed to the scene
Firefighter pictured erecting a crane to battle the blaze Sunday morning
All SDFD personnel has been accounted for as of 11.19am, according to San Diego Fire authorities. No firefighters have been injured so far
A view of the smoking naval ship above. It’s unclear what sparked the fire and explosion
The USS Bonhomme Richard is an assault-style ship that’s outfitted to carry landing craft and transfer equipment, troops and landing boats.
The ship’s last deployment was in 2018.
Firefighters from San Diego along with the unified command Federal Fire are battling the flames.
The Naval Surface Forces of the US Pacific Fleet added that local, base and shipboard firefighters are responding to the blaze.
All SDFD personnel has been accounted for as of 11.19am, according to San Diego Fire authorities. No firefighters have been injured so far.
Massive clouds of smoke enveloped the base in Sunday morning’s fire
The USS Bonhomme Richard is an assault-style ship that’s outfitted to carry landing craft and transfer equipment, troops and landing boats. The ship’s last deployment was in 2018
San Diego Fire-Rescue said 150 firefighters were sent out to quell the inferno.
Shocking video as emerged showing the moment an explosion went off on the Naval ship.
The keel for the Bonhomme Richard was laid down in 1995 and she was delivered to the Navy in 1998.
The 23-year-old ship has the capacity to deploy and land helicopters, smaller boats and amphibious vehicles.
Because of its age, a fire could be particularly destructive, especially if it reached the engine room and other tight spaces with machinery, said Lawrence B. Brennan, a professor of admiralty and international maritime law at Fordham University in New York.
‘The heat of a fire of this nature can warp the steel, and that can be a major problem for any ship,’ said Brennan.
‘On an older ship, it’s even more of a problem.’
Two other docked ships, USS Fitzgerald and USS Russell, were moved to berths away from the fire, officials said.