USS Bonhomme Richard Fire Continues to Destroy Ship
According to CBS News, a fire suppression system on the USS Bonhomme Richard was being worked on and could not be activated to help fight the fire that broke out early Sunday morning. The vessel was docked in San Diego, CA for maintenance. As of Tuesday morning, crews from the Navy as civilian firefighters are still battling the blaze. The Navy believes that the fire started in a lower storage area of the ship that’s used to store drywall.
Initially, we reported that the number of injured was 21. As of the most recent report, 36 sailors and 23 civilians have required medical care for injuries related to the fire. Currently, about 400 sailors are fighting the fire alongside firefighters. Crews were on the ship attempting to douse flames when the fire first broke out. However, they were evacuated about two hours later out of safety concerns. Now, so much water has been sprayed into and on the ship that it has begun to list.
Will the USS Bonhomme Richard Survive the Fire?
As the fire burns, the Navy is uncertain of the amphibious assault vessel’s future. Flames have caused the interior of the ship to reach temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire is so hot that firefighters are working in 15-minute shifts to battle the blaze from outside the ship. Air support is also being utilized to try and smother the flames from above.
Scenes from the blaze reveal that the fire has spread from lower decks to the top of the ship. So far, firefighters have been able to keep the flames away from a part of the ship containing storage tanks with over a million gallons of fuel.
As Naval forces do “everything they can” to save the vessel, the situation remains serious. The ship’s superstructure has been damaged and the forward mast has collapsed. As the battle with the blaze continues, the situation’s outcome remains uncertain.
“There is a tremendous amount of heat underneath and that’s where it’s — it’s flashing up — also forward, closer to the bow again there’s a heat source and we’re trying to get to that as well,” Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck told ABC News.