A U.S. Navy ship in San Diego, California caught fire on Sunday morning, sending black smoke billowing into the air. The USS Bonhomme Richard was reportedly docked at a Naval Base near the city when an explosion on board led to an out of control blaze. At the time of this writing, first responders are still battling the blaze.
The USS Bonhomme Richard caught fire at around 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, officials believe. According to naval journalist Chris Cavas, this is likely the worst fire the U.S. Navy has seen since 2012. Striking photos of the blaze and the billowing black smoke filled social media, and aerial footage from local ABC News affiliate 10News showed the real scope of the disaster. So far, firefighters say that three sailors and 1 San Diego Fire Department member were injured.
SDFD reported multiple injured sailors in an update on its official Twitter account, some due to the explosion and some due to the fire afterward. The sailors are being treated for various injuries, but there is no word yet on their condition.
SDFD's Mónica Muñoz spoke to reporters from CNN, saying that the department is cooperating with multiple agencies all responding to the emergency. The military reached out to SDFD shortly after the blast, and at least one firefighter has now been injured in the response. Muñoz verified that this is a three-alarm fire and an active emergency.
BHR recently completed a major drydocking overhaul at BAE Systems in San Diego and movced back to 32nd Street Naval Base in February, when this image was taken. She shifted homeport from Japan to San Diego in 2018. pic.twitter.com/4WwyoJvQfD— Chris Cavas (@CavasShips) July 12, 2020
The USS Bonhomme Richard is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship named in honor of another ship with the same name, commanded by Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones. The modern USS Bonhomme Richard is meant for deploying the U.S. Marines to various circumstances, including by helicopter or other light aircraft.
The ship has been in use since 1997 and even appeared in several scenes in the 2012 movies Battleship and Act of Valor. It has traveled around the world several times, and most recently completed a massive exercise in Australia, spending a week in Melbourne. The USS Bonhomme Richard then traveled back to San Diego in May of 2018 and has remained there ever since.
So far, there is no word on what might have caused the explosion, but social media is watching the developments with bated breath. Many are posting thoughts and prayers for the sailors and Marines on board the USS Bonhomme Richard, and for the first responders on the scene.