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USS Bonhomme Richard fire: 57 treated for injuries after fire erupts aboard Naval Base San Diego ship

Several sailors injured in aboard USS Bonhomme Richard
San Diego Fire-Rescue responding to fire on USS Bonhomme Richard
San Diego Fire-Rescue responding to fire on USS Bonhomme Richard
San Diego Fire-Rescue responding to fire on USS Bonhomme Richard
San Diego Fire-Rescue responding to fire on USS Bonhomme Richard
San Diego Fire-Rescue responding to fire on USS Bonhomme Richard
Posted at 3:12 PM, Jul 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 14:23:28-04

As of Monday morning, firefighting teams continue operations onboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), 57 personnel, both U.S. Navy Sailors and civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

Of those, five remain hospitalized for observation and are currently in stable condition.

Firefighting crews continue to battle a massive blaze that erupted inside a ship at Naval Base San Diego on Sunday morning, sending large plumes of smoke into the air for hours.

The fire was reported at about 8:30 a.m. aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego in the 3400 block of Senn Street, according to the Navy.

According to witnesses at the scene, a large explosion on the ship set off the blaze, though fire investigators are still searching for a cause of the fire. Navy Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck said the fire began in the lower cargo hold where Marine equipment is typically held.

The Navy said 17 sailors and four civilians were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The sailors are reportedly in stable condition. No condition was immediately provided on the civilians hurt in the fire. Five remain hospitalized for observation but remain in stable condition, the Navy said.

According to the Navy, 57 personnel, both sailors and civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

Watch live video from the fire below:

About 160 sailors were aboard the ship at the time of the fire and all sailors have been accounted for and evacuated from the vessel, the Navy says. The USS Bonhomme Richard was undergoing maintenance and normally has a crew of roughly 1,000.

As the fire raged, the USS Fitzgerald shifted to a pier further away from the ship at about 1 p.m. and the nearby USS Russell moved about 30 minutes later as well. All in-port ships have been directed to provide fire parties to assist with firefighting efforts, the Navy added.

"Currently there are two firefighting teams fighting the fire aboard the ship," said Federal Fire San Diego Division Chief Rob Bondurant. "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. Also, Navy Region Southwest tugs are also continuously combating the fire from the bay."

Navy officials said no ordnance was onboard the ship at the time of the fire. A 1,800-yard perimeter has been set up around the ship as crews battled the flames, Sobeck said.

Sobeck added during a 6 p.m. press conference that about a million gallons of gasoline are onboard the vessel — well below the fire — and crews were working all Sunday to prevent the fire from reaching that area of the ship.

Sobeck says sailors ware taught from day one of boot camp how to fight these fires.

Smoke could be seen pouring into the sky just south of downtown San Diego throughout Sunday. ABC 10News crews at the scene are reporting a toxic smell emanating from the blaze.

National City officials advised residents to stay inside and limit their time outside as a safety precaution, due to the potential health impacts of fire's smoke. Heartland Fire Department also warned that that the smell of smoke may be detected in the East County due to the ship fire.

KGTV's Mary McKenzie, Zac Self, Mario Sevilla, and Mark Saunders first reported this story.