A fire that erupted over the weekend on a military ship that was officially extinguished on Thursday, with the cause of the days-long blaze still unknown, according to the Navy.
All known fires on the USS Bonhomme Richard have been put out, four days after the flames first erupted on Sunday, Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three said in a statement. The extent of the damage, as well as what started the fire, is still unknown.
“This was a Navy team effort. We had support from the air and sea,” Sobeck’s statement said. “Three helicopter squadrons conducted more than 1,500 water bucket drops, fighting the fire and cooling the super structure and flight deck enabling fire crews to get onboard to fight the fire.”
By Monday, 17 sailors and four civilians were injured, but Sobeck said on Thursday that 63 people — 40 Navy sailors and 23 civilians — have been treated for minor injuries, including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
Authorities are still working to confirm that there are no more active fires aboard the vessel and will begin an investigation into what happened to start the fire. Sobeck told reporters Monday morning that initial reports indicated that pressurization caused the explosions, but did not elaborate on the details.
The Bonhomme Richard is an amphibious assault ship, which works to deploy elements of a Marine landing force. San Diego became home to the ship in 2018 after it was docked for six years in Japan, according to the U.S. Naval Institute.
Krishna Jackson, public affairs officer for Naval Base San Diego, told NBC San Diego Sunday that the ship had undergone a regular maintenance cycle before the fire was reported.
The ship’s future is unknown, Sobeck said, as the Navy assess how badly the fire impaired the USS Bonhomme Richard.
Mosheh Gains contributed.