USS Bonhomme Richard LHD6 on fire alongside in San Diego

Major fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard, moored alongside at San Diego.

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[Eleven] sailors were injured after an explosion and fire on board a ship at the US Naval Base in San Diego, US Navy officials said.

The sailors on the USS Bonhomme Richard had “minor injuries” from the fire and were taken to a hospital, Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Kreuzberger told CNN.

All of the crew is off the ship and accounted for, according to a tweet from the US Pacific Fleet Naval Surface Forces Sunday afternoon.

In a tweet, the Naval Surface Forces updated the number of sailors taken to the hospital to 18 from 11.

It’s still unclear what started the fire although initial reports from the ship indicate it started in the well deck, according to a defense official.

The well deck is where small landing craft enter and exit the belly of the ship.

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corsair Bryan37 minutes ago

Fire has full involved the bridge, one of the masts has collapsed, Navy helos are dumping water on what’s left of the flight deck, and ship has a 33-degree list.

From USNI comments.

> what is increasingly looking to be a monumental disaster for the U.S. Navy.

She’s by the head, but that doesn’t look like anywhere near 33° list to me. The feed is stopped but you can look back fifteen minutes.

“We’re absolutely going to make sure it sails again,” Sobeck said, “Right now we’re going to fight the fire and then we’ll work on understanding what exactly happened to make sure she sails as best as possible in a very near time.” Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck

Damn the taxpayer, full contract ahead! That’s the spirit!


That was yesterday evening. I suspect things look different this morning.


This is the current “will be updated” from USNI:

USN photo from better days.

Just glad no one has died.

We can arm chair quarterback and point fingers later as we always do.

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The Navy’s deployment model is based on having permanent forward presence in vital regions like the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East. To accomplish that, the Navy needs enough ships to support one forward on deployment, one in an elevated status of readiness to surge in an emergency, one in maintenance and one in pre-deployment workups.


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Glad no serious injuries. That ship was an important vessel in the fleet. All that heat does funny things to the steel, and everything else onboard that wasn’t actually on fire.

Well as long as we have the green light…

But seriously, there are some interesting summary points in that Drive article worth noting from a shipboard firefighting standpoint (re-ordered for clarity):

  • There is at least one active fire in a forward area of the ship.
  • There is another heat source that could be another fire aft.
  • These two areas are isolated from each other.
  • The fire spread rapidly from the front to the rear of the ship.
  • An explosion occurred while the crew was securing the space where the initial fire had broken out before they could safely energize the fire suppression system.

In a year or two when there is an analysis of this, it will certainly be interesting to see how that fore-to-aft spread was possible. I can only hope that perhaps this is related to the ship/FFS not being at 100% due to the repair/overhaul period going on.

If she were deployed at sea this would have been catastrophic.

If she were at sea she would have had a full crew, firemain, halon/CO2, and AFFF sprinklers available and this would have been a non-event.