At least 21 people suffered minor injuries Sunday after an explosion and fire in the USS Bonhomme Richard at the San Diego Naval Base, military officials said.
“Seventeen sailors and four civilians are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital. All of the entry ships have been contacted and directed to provide fire groups to possibly assist with firefighting efforts,” The Navy said in a statement.
The fire was reported on the ship shortly before 9 a.m., said Krishna Jackson, the base’s public information officer. As of Sunday night, the fire had not yet been contained.
The Navy said Federal Fire San Diego is the leader on the scene of the firefighting efforts at the San Diego Naval Base to fight the fire.
“There are currently two firefighting teams fighting the fire on board the ship,” said Rob Bondurant, chief of the San Diego Federal Fire Division. “Federal Fire is rotating its crews aboard the ship with US Navy fire crews from shore to fight the fire to find the seat of the fire and extinguish it. In addition, tugs in the Southwest Navy region are also continually fighting bay fire. ”
The origin of the fire is still unknown and is pending investigation.
Later Sunday, the Navy said two guided missile destroyers were removed from Bonhomme Richard after it caught fire. One of the warships forced to change berths was the USS Fitzgerald, which had just returned to the fleet after a collision at sea off the coast of Japan three years ago that killed seven sailors.
“At approximately 1:00 pm, the USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) moved the berths to a dock further from the fire. The USS Russell (DDG 59) moved approximately 30 minutes later,” the Navy said.
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The US Pacific Fleet Surface Naval Forces previously tweeted that 18 sailors “were transferred to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” adding that 160 were on board at the time of the explosion.
The cause of the fire was under investigation. Jackson did not know where in the 840-foot amphibious assault ship the explosion and fire occurred.
The fire footage initially showed a large column of smoke visible around San Diego. The city is Bonhomme Richard’s home port, which was under routine maintenance at the time of the fire.
Chief Admiral of Naval Operations Mike Gilday released a statement Sunday night, saying: “Today we suffered a terrible tragedy aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) when a fire broke out aboard the ship in the port of San Diego At this point, 17 sailors and four civilians are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a local hospital. The rest of the crew is warranted. We are grateful for the prompt and immediate response from local, base firefighters. and aboard aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our BHR sailors, their families, and our emergency services who continue to fight the fire. Good luck. “
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The ship has the ability to deploy and land helicopters, smaller boats, and amphibious vehicles.
Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report..