An explosion and fire onboard a naval ship in San Diego on Sunday morning has left at least 17 crew members and four civilians injured.
NBC in San Diego reports that the incident happened aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, an LHD-6 amphibious assault vessel that was docked and having routine maintenance performed.
Federal Fire San Diego Division firefighters were called to the 3400 block of Senn Street at approximately 8:30 a.m. A short time later, the blaze was escalated to a three-alarm fire, and federal firefighters called for backup from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
Mike Raney, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Naval Surface Force, stated that there were approximately 160 crewmembers onboard the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard at the time of the explosion.
The 17 crewmembers and four civilians that were hurt in the blast are being treated at a local hospital. The injuries range from minor smoke inhalation to severe injuries. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening.
Raney told reporters that most of the crew members were ashore when the incident happened. At the time of the report, all crew members had been accounted for.
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Firefighters have cleared a perimeter around the vessel of approximately 1800 feet. The San Diego Channel south of the Coronado Bridge remains closed to all boating traffic as firefighters continued to fight the fire into the night. Air quality and temperature of the ship is being closely monitored.
According to a statement made by the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck, it’s unclear what started the blaze. Officials believe it began in a lower cargo hold beneath some offices on board the ship.
“I think they roughly have about 1 million gallons of fuel, well below where any heat source is,” Sobeck said. He also indicated that the risk of any secondary explosions was low.
This is a developing story.