NATIONAL NEWS

21 Injured After Explosion, Fire On Naval Base San Diego

Jul 12, 2020, 1:26 PM | Updated: 5:57 pm
Several sailors were injured after an explosion on board a ship at the US Naval Base in San Diego, ...
Several sailors were injured after an explosion on board a ship at the US Naval Base in San Diego, according to the San Diego Fire Department (SDFD). (Photo: San Diego Fire Department)
(Photo: San Diego Fire Department)

(CNN) — Twenty-one people were injured after an explosion and fire on board a ship at the US Naval Base in San Diego, US Navy officials said.

“Seventeen Sailors and four civilians are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a local hospital,” the US Navy said in a statement.

The sailors on the USS Bonhomme Richard had “minor injuries” from the fire and were taken to a hospital, Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Kreuzberger told CNN earlier Sunday.

All of the crew is off the ship and accounted for, according to a tweet from the US Pacific Fleet Naval Surface Forces Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire on the ship Sunday morning, SDFD’s Mónica Muñoz said. Several different agencies worked to fight the blaze.

Two fires crews were still on board the ship Sunday afternoon, Federal Fire San Diego Division Chief Rob Bondurant said in a statement.

“Federal Fire is rotating their crews aboard the ship with U.S. Navy firefighting crews from the waterfront to fight the fire in order to find the seat of the fire and extinguish it,” Bondurant said. “Navy Region Southwest tugs are also continuously combating the fire from the bay.”

It’s unclear what started the fire. Initial reports from the ship indicate it started in the well deck, according to a defense official.

The well deck is where small landing craft enter and exit the belly of the ship.

The ship could burn for days, “down to the water line,” San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell told CNN’s Erica Hill Sunday afternoon.

There was an explosion just as personnel were leaving the ship, Stowell said.

Other ships moved away from the burning vessel

The Navy has moved two nearby ships away from the scene, it said in a statement.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has been briefed on the situation, according to a defense official.

Officials called for San Diego Fire Department’s assistance about 9 a.m. local time, Muñoz told CNN.

A second alarm was called at 9:09 a.m. and a third at 9:51 a.m., according to SDFD tweets.

The USS Bonhomme Richard is an amphibious assault ship, according to the US Navy.

There were 160 people on board when the fire started, according to the Naval Surface Forces. The ship, which has a crew of 1,000, was undergoing maintenance.

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21 Injured After Explosion, Fire On Naval Base San Diego