WASHINGTON - Firefighting teams continue to battle a massive fire more than two days after its eruption onboard a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship docked at Naval Base San Diego in the U.S. state of California.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
“No major damage” has occurred to the four main engineering spaces of the ship, which costs billions of dollars, but “it’s too early to tell” the full extent of destruction with the fire still raging, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck said Tuesday during a press conference.
There were 160 sailors aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard when the fire broke out, according to the Navy, and all have been evacuated.
In total, 61 U.S. sailors and Navy civilian personnel were treated for injuries as a result of the fire, including smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. None is currently hospitalized.
Wasp-class Landing Helicopter Dock ships like the USS Bonhomme Richard resemble small aircraft carriers and are currently the largest amphibious ships in the world. They are designed to allow the U.S. Marine Corps to easily shift their operations between the sea and land.
The ship was undergoing routine maintenance in San Diego. No ammunition or major weapons were onboard, and the ship's fuel was not near the source of the fire, Sobeck said Sunday.