A fire after three alarms broke out yesterday Sunday on board a US warship docked at the San Diego naval base, causing the ship to be evacuated and sending about 18 sailors to hospital with minor injuries, Navy sources reported U.S. military and local firefighters.
The San Diego fire department reported an explosion to coincide with the fire, which broke out at 8:30 local time on board the USS. Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship.
Aerial video footage of the scene showed much of the 257-meter (844-foot) warship shrouded in thick smoke, while the fire-fighting boats in the harbor were directing jets of water towards the burning ship. “18 sailors were transferred to a local hospital with non-fatal injuries”, Surface naval forces wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, adding “The whole crew is out of danger from the ship and everyone is under control.”
About 160 sailors were on board when the fire broke out. The San Diego TV station KGTV, (affiliated with ABC News), reported that the ship, which normally carries a crew of around 1,000 people, was undergoing routine maintenance at the time of the fire.
The rear admiral Charles B. Brown, spokesman for the United States Navy, said injured sailors mostly sustained smoke inhalation and suffered minor burns. All of the San Diego Fire Rescue rescuers promptly responded to the fire, the department said.
At around noon local time, the department reported that all staff had been invited to leave the pier, while aerial footage showed that the fire seemed to increase in size.
Two other warships moored nearby were moved in 90 minutes to the piers furthest from the burning ship, the Navy said in a statement and the number of injured people sent to the hospital were only 17 sailors and four civilians.
The Bonhomme Richard, commissioned in 1998, has participated in several military operations over the years and has also appeared in a pair of Hollywood films: the 2012 science fiction action movie “Battleship”, with Liam Neeson and singer Rihanna, and ” Act of Valor, “which featured US Navy SEALs on active duty, according to WGTV.
The ship was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of America and author of the influential “Poor Richard’s Almanack”, who wrote under the pseudonym of Poor Richard or Richard Saunders who became the forerunner of the popular “Almanac of the old farmer”.
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