October 21, 2020

Fire Breaks Out on Navy Ship in San Diego

A fire broke out on the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard at the U.S. Naval base in San Diego on Sunday, the Navy said.

Eleven sailors were being treated for injuries, said Brian O’Rourke, a Navy spokesman.

An explosion occurred after the fire started and the ship was evacuated. Smoke was billowing from the middle of the ship, though it was unclear where the fire started or what the source of the explosion was.

The Bonhomme Richard is an amphibious assault ship capable of carrying helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. It was docked at the base in San Diego for scheduled maintenance between deployments, said Krishna Jackson, a Navy spokeswoman.

The ship has light arms but would not normally have large explosive munitions, such as air-dropped bombs, on board while docked, she said.

The sailors assigned to it were staying in Navy or private housing on shore and were not on board when the fire started, she said.

A “duty section” of sailors trained to fight fires was on board when the fire started, she said, and they were the first to respond.

The San Diego Fire Department was working with the Navy to fight the fire, a spokeswoman for the department said.

It was not immediately clear how the fire started.

The U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard is an assault-style ship outfitted to carry landing craft to transport equipment and troops as well as landing boats.

Allyson Waller and John Ismay contributed reporting.