By Taiwo Okanlawon
At least 17 sailors and four civilians were injured after a fire started onboard aboard the military ship, USS Bonhomme Richard, at the US Naval Base in San Diego.
According to Navy officials, the victims were taken to a San Diego area hospital with minor injuries on Sunday.
“Seventeen Sailors and four civilians are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a local hospital,” the US Navy said in a statement.
San Diego firefighters arrived at the three-alarm fire on Sunday to find thick black smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air from several points along the 844-foot (257 m) amphibious assault ship docked at the San Diego Naval base, according to live video footage of the scene.
Emergency crews in boats were alongside the burning ship, spraying it with hoses.
“Eighteen Sailors have been transferred to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries,’’ Naval Surface Forces wrote on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.
It added “the entire crew is off the ship and all are accounted’’.
The remainder of the crew is accounted for. We are grateful for the quick and immediate response of local, base, and shipboard firefighters aboard BHR. Our thoughts and prayers are with our BHR Sailors, their families, and our emergency responders who continue to fight the fire.
— USNavyCNO (@USNavyCNO) July 12, 2020
Some 160 sailors were aboard when the fire was reported around 8.30 a.m. local time, Naval Surface Forces said.
Earlier on Sunday, the San Diego Fire-Rescue department wrote on Twitter that there had been an explosion at the ship, and they were working with Federal Fire to clear the area.
All San Diego Fire Rescue responders were accounted for as of 11.19 a.m. (6.19 PM GMT), the department said on Twitter.
Around noon local time, the department said all its personnel had been instructed to exit the pier, while aerial video footage showed the blaze appeared to grow.