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Video/Pics: US Navy ship still on fire after 23+ hours – 57 injured

A fire continues to be fought into the evening on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego, July 12. On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Base and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. USS Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability, which began in 2018. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Austin Haist)
July 13, 2020

Firefighters on Monday continued their efforts to put out a fire that has been burning since Sunday onboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) amphibious assault ship.

The fire began around 8:30 a.m. PST Sunday after an explosion was reported on the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship docked at Naval Base San Diego. Initial reports indicated 18 personnel were hospitalized with minor injuries and around 160 personnel in total were evacuated from the ship, but by Monday morning, the number of injured increased to 57.

As of 06:30 a.m. Pacific time, firefighting teams continue operations on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), 57 personnel, 34 @USNavy Sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation,” said an update by the Naval Surface Forces. “5 remain hospitalized for observation,” the update added.

In a statement released Sunday night, the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said, “We are grateful for the quick and immediate response of local, base, and shipboard firefighters aboard USS Bonhomme Richard. Our thoughts and prayers are with our BHR Sailors, their families, and our emergency responders who continue to fight the fire. Godspeed,” Gilday’s statement read.

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An early Monday morning from defense commentator Andy Netherwood showed crews still battling the blaze. “Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard still on fire this morning. Hard to imagine her ever sailing again,” he tweeted with the video.

On Sunday, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) chief Colin Stowell said the fire burning on the U.S. navy ship could continue for days.

SDFD posted two videos on Sunday of their firefighting efforts.

“As of 3:30 a.m. PST, firefighting teams continue operations on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in addition to aerial firefighting operations that commenced via helicopter water bucket at 10:30 p.m. PST with two helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE,” the Twitter account for Naval Surface Forces of the U.S. Pacific Fleet tweeted.

Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department boats combat a fire on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego, July 12. On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego. Local, base and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. USS Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability, which began in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. John J. Mike/Released)

“As of 3:30 a.m. PST, there are 5 Sailors admitted to local hospitals for observation. All are in stable condition,” the Navy account also tweeted, providing an update as to the number of sailors still hospitalized after the fire.

Federal Fire San Diego is the on-scene lead for firefighting efforts on @NavBaseSD combatting the fire on @LHD6BHR. ‘Currently there are two firefighting teams fighting the fire aboard the ship,’ said Federal Fire San Diego Division Chief Rob Bondurant.”

The Navy account shared additional photos of the firefighting efforts on Sunday.

“Daylight up for a better view of #BonhommeRichard at 0600 PDT. Still have fire forward and smoke from amidship & island. H60s continue water drops with two C-Tractors on standby,” one Twitter user tweeted, with video of the ongoing firefighting effort. “These views are coming from a merchant mariner on a ship a pier over – thanks Denis!”

“The USS Bonhomme Richard is still burning this morning, and sending thick, black smoke billowing into the air. It caught fire nearly 24 hours ago at Naval Base San Diego,” another account tweeted.

In a Sunday press conference, Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck indicated the fire began in the lower vehicle storage area of the ship.

Sobeck said firefighting crews on the ship initially fought the fire, before the Navy base activated its emergency operations center and called in Federal Fire Department’s San Diego Battalion 12, the National City Department and the SDFD joined in the firefighting operation.

Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department boats combat a fire on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego, July 12, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christina Ross)

Photos show firefighting crews battling the blaze on Sunday.

Sailors and Federal Fire San Diego firefighters combat a fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) July 12. On the morning of July 12, a fire was called away aboard the ship while it was moored pierside at Naval Base San Diego. Local, base and shipboard firefighters responded to the fire. USS Bonhomme Richard is going through a maintenance availability, which began in 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Kofonow/Released)