US Navy personnel and local firefighters are battling a fire that broke out aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego, California, on July 12.
Fire department crews were called in at around 9:00 a.m. local time, after the fire broke out in the ship’s well deck.
The San Diego Fire Department also noted that an explosion had been heard, which could be the cause of the fire outbreak.
According to Naval Surface Forces, US Pacific Fleet, several sailors aboard the ship have been transported to the hospital for minor injuries. The navy added that the entire crew was off the ship and all accounted for.
The navy’s most recent statement said the fire started at around 8:30 a.m. with approximately 160 sailors aboard at the time. The statement added that 18 sailors had been transferred to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
USS Bonhomme Richard was undergoing routine maintenance at the time of the incident.
USS Bonhomme Richard returned to San Diego in 2018, after spending six years forward-deployed to Japan. The ship was scheduled to undergo an upgrade that would allow it to operate F-35B STOVL fighter jets. The ship is expected to serve well into the 2030s, but it remains to be seen what will be the extent of the damages from the still blazing fire.
Photos of the fire aboard the ship circulating on social media appear to show the recently-repaired destroyer USS Fitzgerald, which had been heavily damaged in a collision in 2017.
Update: The US Navy said it has shifted the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Russell (DDG 59) to a pier further away from the fire. RADM Philip Sobeck, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, told reporters during a press conference that the reported explosion was likely caused by back pressure, adding that the cause cannot be ascertained. According to first findings, the fire started in the ship’s “deep V” cargo hold and spread to spaces above.