Update on USS Bonhomme Richard Fire
According to the Navy Times, the Navy is hopeful that they will have the USS Bonhomme Richard fire out within 24 hours. After at least 1,000 buckets of water from helicopters were dumped on the flames, which gave enough cooling action so that personnel could go inside the ship to fight the remaining fire.
UPDATE: The fire has been put out as of July 17, 2020. Now comes the investigation as to how it started.
The ship has been burning since Sunday, when the fire broke out in both front and aft sections of the amphibious assault ship.
Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck, Commanding officer for Expeditionary Strike Group 3 told reporters that the 1 million gallons of fuel aboard is safe from ignition or leaks at this time.
“There is no threat to the fuel tanks, which is well below any active fires or heat sources. The ship is stable and the structure is safe.” Rear Adm Sobeck
Reports say that all 61 personnel injured in the fire have been released from the hospital. The main injuries were smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion.
The Navy Times reported,
The Bonhomme Richard’s fire was called away at 8:30 a.m. Sunday and is believed to have started in a cargo hold of the ship, which Sobeck said was full of shipyard maintenance materials as the amphib underwent extensive maintenance and upgrades to accommodate the F-35B jet.
The ship’s forward mast collapsed Monday and its superstructure has suffered widespread damage.
Acrid plumes of smoke have filled the skies over San Diego as the varied contents of the ship went up in flames.
U.S. Coast Guard assets are standing by should any fuel escape the burning ship, but Sobeck said “the risk is very low” of any fuel spilling from the ship or catching fire.
“It’s well beneath the water line, where the fuel is,” he said. “It’s the safest part of where the ship is.”
As the sailors were energizing the foam suppression system on Sunday, an explosion occurred which forced them out of the cargo area. Admiral Sobeck was not sure whether the USS Bonhomme Richard fire would cause the ship to never sail again.
“We haven’t been inside the ship well enough to get a fuller picture. It looks cleaner from the outside. Inside, we’re still fighting a major fire.”
Featured photo fro US Navy via Navy Times