Soldiers and Civilians Injured in Ship Explosion in San Diego Navy Yard: Inferno Rages for Second Consecutive Day
Firefighters began a second day of combating an inferno onboard a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship christened Bonhomme Richard. Fire temperatures peaked as high as 1,000 degrees as the blaze continued to consume the listing vessel docked at the San Diego Naval Base.
At the time of the fire, the ship was docked for maintenance. Because of the maintenance work being done on the vessel, the ship’s halon system had been deactivated. The halon system is designed to emit a gas that starves off oxygen in the event of a fire. The fact that the halon system was not operational at the time of the blaze magnified the challenges associated with working to effectively combat the fire.
Sailors and Civilians Injured in Fire
A total of 36 sailors and 23 civilians had been treated for injuries as a result of the fire. Most of the injuries have been classified as relatively minor. Injuries primarily appear to have arisen from efforts to fight the fire rather than arising directly from the incident itself.
History of Large-Scale Naval Ship Explosions and Fires
The San Diego Navy ship fire is one of the largest on a naval vessel outside of combat. The most recent large-scale fire on a Navy ship occurred in 2008 and involved the USS George Washington. The George Washington was a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The fire on that ship when oil improperly stored on the vessel caught fire. 37 sailors were injured in the George Washington fire. The blaze took 12 hours to extinguish and resulted in over $70 million in repair costs.
In 1967, a massive fire on the USS Forrestal resulted in the deaths of more than 130 sailors. The fire on the Forrestal started when a rocket accidentally fired on the ship’s flight deck, resulting in several explosions.
As of Tuesday, investigators had yet to determine the cause of the blaze. A full investigation into the cause of the fire remained impossible while the blaze itself was not under control. With that said, investigators did confirm that the fire appeared to have started in a storage area of the ship. This part of the ship was not part of the maintenance activities in process at the time the fire started.
Smoke, Fumes, Air Quality, and Health Concerns
Plumes of thick smoke and foul fumes continued to spread across the greater San Diego area as the intense flames continued to flare. Smoke has reached Vista, a community 40 miles from the uncontrolled shipyard fire. The skyline around the Bonita and South Bay was tinged in brown, with smokes and fumes growing thicker with each passing hour.
Air quality has become an issue in San Diego and surrounding areas. Officials have begun the process of ascertaining what chemicals might be found in the pollutants spreading overhead from the site of the ship fire. As of Tuesday morning, officials had yet to release any specific information about air quality issues. With that said, people with preexisting health issues have been advised to avoid going out of doors at this time. The possibility does exist that a broader alert may be put in place, depending on what air quality investigators learn from their monitoring efforts.
Legal Rights Following a Fire or Explosion
If you or a loved one suffered injuries following a fire or explosion, taking affirmative steps to protect your important legal rights is crucial. An explosion accident lawyer from The Doan Law Firm at (800) 349-0000 stands ready to assist you in protecting your legal rights. We fight for the rights of people injured directly in fires and explosions of all types. In addition, we represent people who are exposed to hazardous substances contained in smoke plums given off by larger scale fires and explosions.
A nationwide law firm, you can schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation with an explosion accident lawyer at any one of our offices located from coast to coast. In addition, we can arrange for a virtual consultation online as well. There is no cost for an initial consultation with a member of our experienced, committed legal team.
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