A Navy Warship Is Burning Up
in San Diego
The fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard is a major blow to the U.S. military preparedness in the Pacific.
SAN DIEGO — The Navy says the fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard reportedly began in the lower vehicle storage area and led to an internal explosion at 8:30 a.m on Sunday. Firefighters are still battling the flames as the ship remains at Naval Base San Diego. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Speaking at a news event, Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck says the fire damaged the front deck and superstructure, and collapsed the front mast. The ship is without munitions but has a million gallons of fuel two decks below the flames. The Pacific Fleet says 59 sailors and civilians are non-critically injured.
Defense News reports the warship was about to complete upgrades for operating F-35 jets. According to the Navy, the ship's Halon fire suppression system had been disengaged because it was undergoing maintenance.
According to Sobeck, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Three's Seahawks dropped 415 buckets of water on the vessel, and 400 sailors are fighting to save the ship. In a separate statement, San Diego Fire Department Chief Colin Stowell, whose firefighters are helping the effort, told CNN that the ship could burn "down to the waterlines."
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