All known fires extinguished aboard U.S. Navy ship in San Diego

2020-07-17 02:18:55 GMT2020-07-17 10:18:55(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

U.S. sailors and civilian fire crews extinguished all known fires aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego in California on Thursday after four days of firefighting, authorities said.

"Our fire teams are investigating every space to verify the absence of fire. Until every space is checked and there are no active fires, we will not be able to commence any official investigations," said Philip Sobeck, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, in a statement.

"We did not know the origin of the fire. We do not know the extent of the damage. It is too early to make any predictions or promises of what the future of the ship will be," he added, noting officials "cannot make any conclusions, until the investigation is complete."

Sobeck told reporters in a live webcast news briefing that the ship has proven to be survivable.

"The ship can be repaired," he noted. "Whether or not it will be repaired will be determined."

Sobeck also stated that three helicopter squadrons conducted more than 1,500 water bucket drops, fighting the fire and cooling the super structure and flight deck.

"We had 63 personnel, 40 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. We have no personnel hospitalized," he said.

A fire was first reported aboard the ship at Naval Base San Diego at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time on Sunday. The 40,000-ton Wasp Class amphibious assault ship, with a crew size of around 1,000, has been docked in San Diego since 2018 undergoing maintenance, according to the U.S. Navy.