NATIONAL NEWS

Navy Says Ship Fire In San Diego Is Now Out; Cause Unknown

Jul 16, 2020, 2:31 PM
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12:  A fire burns on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard ...
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12: A fire burns on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego on July 12, 2020 in San Diego, California. There was an explosion on board the ship with multiple injuries reported. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard in San Diego Harbor has been extinguished, ending one of the worst infernos to rip through a U.S. warship outside of combat in recent years, the Navy announced Thursday.

“All known fires have been extinguished aboard USS Bonhomme Richard,” Rear Adm. Philip E. Sobeck said in a statement.

Teams were continuing to check every space to make sure no fire remained and until that process was complete an official investigation into the cause of the blaze that started Sunday would not begin, he said.

“We did not know the origin of the fire. We do not know the extent of the damage. It is too early to make any predictions or promises of what the future of the ship will be,” said Sobeck, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3.

The news came after the massive ship shifted during the night and listed toward the pier, prompting the Navy to pull off firefighting sailors.

The withdrawal of the roughly 30 sailors on board late Wednesday was out of an abundance of caution and there is no fear of the 840-foot vessel capsizing, said Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Kreuzberger. They were back on the ship within an hour.

The Navy was keeping a close eye on any movements as the ship settles after burning. The fire started in its lower armored vehicle storage area and quickly spread throughout the amphibious assault ship that is akin to a mini-aircraft carrier.

Helicopters dumped more than 1,500 buckets of water on the ship, which had been docked in San Diego harbor undergoing maintenance.

The Navy believes a spark from an unknown source first ignited heavy-duty cardboard boxes, rags and other maintenance supplies that were being stored in the lower vehicle storage area.

The fire traveled upward to the well deck — a wide hangar type area — and took off from there, Navy officials have said.

The fire at one point reached up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, threatening to soften steel.

Experts said shipboard fires are difficult to douse.

“It’s very difficult to choke off oxygen in open deck spaces” and then to follow the flames into all the nooks on a craft, said maritime lawyer Rod Sullivan, who served in the Navy.

It’s not uncommon for ship fires to take days to extinguish, he added, pointing to a fire last month on a car-carrying cargo ship that burned for eight days in Jacksonville, Florida.

The difficulty was compounded aboard the Bonhomme Richard because it was undergoing maintenance and there was scaffolding, along with other equipment and debris in the way of firefighters. One of the ship’s fire suppression systems also was deactivated because of the maintenance project.

It could cost an estimated $4 billion to replace the ship if it is deemed un-salvageable. The Bonhomme Richard was nearing the end of a two-year-long upgrade estimated to cost $250 million. It was being done so the ship could start being used to deploy the Marine Corps’ F-35Bs in the Pacific.

More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation since Sunday.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

This undated photo provided by Merced County Sheriff's Office shows 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her p...
Stefanie Dazio and Olga R. Rodriguez, Associated Press

Sheriff: Killing of kidnapped California family ‘pure evil’

Authorities say the suspect in the kidnapping and killing of a central California family was a former employee who had a longstanding dispute with them.
7 hours ago
(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)...
Associated Press

Police: 2 dead, 6 injured in stabbings along Las Vegas Strip

Police say an attacker killed two people and wounded six others in stabbings along the Las Vegas Strip.
7 hours ago
Hunter Biden leaves Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Johns Island, South Carolina, on August 13. Fede...
Evan Perez, Kara Scannell and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Federal prosecutors weighing charges on two fronts in Hunter Biden investigation

Federal prosecutors believe they could charge Hunter Biden with tax crimes and a false statement but a final decision still has not yet been made.
1 day ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention...
Kaitlan Collins, Katelyn Polantz and Tierney Sneed, CNN

Justice Department insists to Trump’s attorneys that he return all documents marked classified

Justice Department officials have demanded in recent weeks to former President Donald Trump's attorneys that he return any outstanding documents marked as classified.
1 day ago
UNSPECIFIED, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Russians and Armenians seen with their luggage after crossing ...
BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press

2 Russians seek asylum after reaching remote Alaska island

Two Russians who said they fled the country to avoid military service have requested asylum in the U.S. after landing on a remote Alaska island.
1 day ago
The US military conducted a raid in northeast Syria targeting a senior ISIS official on October 5, ...
Oren Liebermann and Ellie Kaufman

US kills two top ISIS leaders in Syria airstrike

US forces killed two top ISIS leaders in an airstrike in northern Syria on Thursday, according to two defense officials, one day after a US raid killed an ISIS smuggler.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Navy Says Ship Fire In San Diego Is Now Out; Cause Unknown