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kingofnerf

USS Bonhomme Richard continues to burn in San Diego

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Navy officials said Monday that the fire ravaging the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard for a second day has reached temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees, and it is still burning in various portions of the ship.

Smoke and fumes continued to affect the skyline and air throughout San Diego.

Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck, the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, said Monday that the fire is in the superstructure of the ship and its upper decks and that the ship’s forward mast has collapsed.

“There’s obviously burn damage all the way through the skin of the ship, and we are assessing that as we kind of go through each compartment,” he said. “Right now the priority is to get the fire out so that we can take a complete assessment.”

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/military/story/2020-07-13/inferno-on-san-diego-navy-ship-rages-into-second-day

Okay, this is bad.

How does this happen when there are no weapons or aircraft on board because the ship is in port undergoing routine maintenance?

THIS AIN'T THE DAMNED NAVY I SERVED IN.  WHERE HAVE THE STANDARDS GONE?!!

First the USS McCain thing and now this.

OMFG. WTF? WTF?

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12 hours ago, kingofnerf said:

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/military/story/2020-07-13/inferno-on-san-diego-navy-ship-rages-into-second-day

Okay, this is bad.

How does this happen when there are no weapons or aircraft on board because the ship is in port undergoing routine maintenance?

THIS AIN'T THE DAMNED NAVY I SERVED IN.  WHERE HAVE THE STANDARDS GONE?!!

First the USS McCain thing and now this.

OMFG. WTF? WTF?

I obviously don't know for sure but considering where it was and why it was there...and by the looks of the flight deck and other ship in the video it appears civilians were on board doing some type of maintenance/work when the fire started. There was also only something like 165 Sailors on board when it happened so the response must have been delayed by quite a bit than if there had been the normal 1,000 member underway crew aboard. 

As a former sailor stationed abroad an Amphibious Assault ship almost exactly like this at the same Navy base as this I am finding it very hard for me to watch. The fact that the bridge has been compromised and gutted is hard to believe...if this started as a fire in the well decks. That entire inside of that ship must be on fire. I honestly feel sick to my stomach...and I can't put my finger on exactly why. 

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Mommy, why don't Republicans call Blitzy out when he continues to spew Russian propaganda? Even now he is trying to make a joke out of Russia's involvement in our electoral process - which will make it easier for the them to do it again in 2020.

Why Mommy? Is Blitzy a GRU agent, or just really gullible??

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LBC, sorry to distract from the thread - I know this is disheartening for you. I would assume that the ship is close to a total loss by now - it is amazing that something made out  of steel can burn like that. But having both fuel and ordinance on board is not a good thing if a fire starts.

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16 hours ago, kingofnerf said:

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/military/story/2020-07-13/inferno-on-san-diego-navy-ship-rages-into-second-day

Okay, this is bad.

How does this happen when there are no weapons or aircraft on board because the ship is in port undergoing routine maintenance?

THIS AIN'T THE DAMNED NAVY I SERVED IN.  WHERE HAVE THE STANDARDS GONE?!!

First the USS McCain thing and now this.

OMFG. WTF? WTF?

From what I am hearing, F/F systems were down for maintenance, there was also a lot of hatches that were open, again due to maintenance and there was only really one duty station on board when the fire broke out. 

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5 hours ago, LBC said:

I obviously don't know for sure but considering where it was and why it was there...and by the looks of the flight deck and other ship in the video it appears civilians were on board doing some type of maintenance/work when the fire started. There was also only something like 165 Sailors on board when it happened so the response must have been delayed by quite a bit than if there had been the normal 1,000 member underway crew aboard. 

As a former sailor stationed abroad an Amphibious Assault ship almost exactly like this at the same Navy base as this I am finding it very hard for me to watch. The fact that the bridge has been compromised and gutted is hard to believe...if this started as a fire in the well decks. That entire inside of that ship must be on fire. I honestly feel sick to my stomach...and I can't put my finger on exactly why. 

 

1 hour ago, carolina_corpsman said:

From what I am hearing, F/F systems were down for maintenance, there was also a lot of hatches that were open, again due to maintenance and there was only really one duty station on board when the fire broke out. 

It reminds me of a book I read about the Guadalcanal naval battles where open passageways caused by battle damage accelerated fires below decks and finished off damaged warships.

It also makes me think of the Towering Inferno scenario that caused the adoption of fire-resistant plenum-rated cable in commercial buildings and hotels whereas an electrical fire would spread through an entire structure through ventilation shafts and the plenum (air chamber between a hanging ceiling an the actual roof or concrete ceiling in a multi-story building).

Even though they have said it is a Class Alpha fire, I am betting it's an electrical fire given all of the compartments involved.  Somebody online elsewhere also remarked the air out there smelled like burning aluminum.  It makes you think a welder fused something to the hull and created a short to ground along the inner skeleton and hull of the entire ship.

God save the Boney Dick.

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16 minutes ago, kingofnerf said:

 

It reminds me of a book I read about the Guadalcanal naval battles where open passageways caused by battle damage accelerated fires below decks and finished off damaged warships.

It also makes me think of the Towering Inferno scenario that caused the adoption of fire-resistant plenum-rated cable in commercial buildings and hotels whereas an electrical fire would spread through an entire structure through ventilation shafts and the plenum (air chamber between a hanging ceiling an the actual roof or concrete ceiling in a multi-story building).

Even though they have said it is a Class Alpha fire, I am betting it's an electrical fire given all of the compartments involved.  Somebody online elsewhere also remarked the air out there smelled like burning aluminum.  It makes you think a welder fused something to the hull and created a short to ground along the inner skeleton and hull of the entire ship.

God save the Boney Dick.

I would imagine if they had been underway the fire would have been extinguished with minimal damage. As long and as hot as it has burned, I expect it to be made into a reef off shore. 

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Here is a lot more detail on what RADM Sobeck told the media.

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First, “because the ship was in the shipyard, lots of scaffolding, lots of debris in the way” that could both hinder the damage control team getting to the fire and could serve as kindling as the flames spread.

Additionally, he said, the ship’s fire suppression system “was not operational because it was being worked on in the shipyard.” That meant the firefighting got off to a slower start, though the rear admiral said the ship crew’s efforts were augmented by firefighting assets on the pier and in the air. Only about 160 sailors of the ship’s 1,000 crew were aboard Bonhomme Richard when the fire broke out, limiting the number of personnel that could contribute to initial damage control efforts.

The maintenance activities helped the fire spread faster than it would if the ship were operating at sea, for example, but it’s still unclear what role, if any, maintenance activities played in actually igniting the fire.

“I can’t speak to the origination of the fire other than we first got the report in the lower v of the ship, and that’s where basically we store all the tanks and all the other things, the Marine Corps equipment. If you open the stern gate in the back of the ship, in there, that’s kind of where we believe, just above that is where we believe things started,” Sobeck said.

“Because of the amount of shipyard work that’s been done … that was used as a large storage area … supplies and that kind of stuff were all there, and that’s what I think ignited and started the fire.”

https://news.usni.org/2020/07/13/warships-in-maintenance-always-face-increased-risk-for-fire-damage

The article lists other ships damaged by "hot work" while undergoing maintenance.

Quote

Destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79) was in a year-long upgrade at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair yard in Virginia when an electrical fire broke out.

“They advised they had an electrical fire in a forward space and ships force damage control teams were engaged with fighting the fire. They also had a damage control element from the USS Cole on board assisting with their efforts, in total about 30 personnel,” according to the Norfolk Fire Marshal’s incident report. Local firefighters were only on the scene for about two hours, after which time Navy damage control teams had the situation under control and firefighters left the pier.

Though the fire didn’t rage for long, it certainly waylaid the destroyer. Oscar Austin will be in repairs until at least the first quarter of 2022, according to an unclassified Navy maintenance summary reviewed by USNI News. The summary included a request from the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center for more time to repair damage from both the fire and the firefighting effort.

The fire that occurred in the superstructure just blows me away.  There are no fuel lines that high up.  It had to be electrical.

200712-N-MJ716-0498.jpeg

The U.S. Naval Institute is the best organization in the country as far as overall engineering and technical knowledge goes.

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21 minutes ago, kingofnerf said:

First, “because the ship was in the shipyard, lots of scaffolding, lots of debris in the way” that could both hinder the damage control team getting to the fire and could serve as kindling as the flames spread.

Additionally, he said, the ship’s fire suppression system “was not operational because it was being worked on in the shipyard.” That meant the firefighting got off to a slower start, though the rear admiral said the ship crew’s efforts were augmented by firefighting assets on the pier and in the air. Only about 160 sailors of the ship’s 1,000 crew were aboard Bonhomme Richard when the fire broke out, limiting the number of personnel that could contribute to initial damage control efforts.

As a former shipyard worker, I can attest to the above comments. Depending on what phase of the overhaul/maintenance cycle the ship was in, there may have been components disassembled or temporarily stored in ways that may have added to this. They have shore power cables, ventilation, and other temporary items shipboard that would normally not be there at sea. Additionally, the ship's force is likely quartered off-ship and their only fire fighting gear were likely bottles with some Scott air paks. Once it got beyond the control with fire extinguishers, they were in big trouble. 

Trying to snake traditional land based fire fighting gear through those hatches in darkness and smoke has to be super hazardous. This was a perfect storm for a disaster. Sad to see a great ship get burnt. 

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This is not the first time shear incompetence of having the fire suppression system shut down has resulted in the loss of a ship at dockside while undergoing work. Remember the Normandie?

https://seanmunger.com/2015/02/09/a-testament-to-human-stupidity-the-sad-fate-of-the-s-s-normandie/

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1 hour ago, JimG said:

As a former shipyard worker, I can attest to the above comments. Depending on what phase of the overhaul/maintenance cycle the ship was in, there may have been components disassembled or temporarily stored in ways that may have added to this. They have shore power cables, ventilation, and other temporary items shipboard that would normally not be there at sea. Additionally, the ship's force is likely quartered off-ship and their only fire fighting gear were likely bottles with some Scott air paks. Once it got beyond the control with fire extinguishers, they were in big trouble. 

Trying to snake traditional land based fire fighting gear through those hatches in darkness and smoke has to be super hazardous. This was a perfect storm for a disaster. Sad to see a great ship get burnt. 

Would the ship have enough water pressure for the fire mains if the boilers weren't lit?  Not sure if this class of ship has gas turbines or traditional boilers or not.

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1 hour ago, kingofnerf said:

Would the ship have enough water pressure for the fire mains if the boilers weren't lit?  Not sure if this class of ship has gas turbines or traditional boilers or not.

Richard has boilers...but were they operational pierside? They may have been out of service. 

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Sailors and firefighting crews are still battling two “major” fires aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), three days after a fire sparked and quickly spread throughout the amphibious assault ship, Navy officials said on Tuesday.

One of the fires is in the forward part of the ship, while the other is burning in the rear or aft portion, Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck, commander of the San Diego-based Expeditionary Strike Group 3, said during a morning press briefing at the naval base.

“We’ve got it now isolated to two main areas,” he said.

Sailors reported the initial fire in a lower vehicle and equipment stowage area about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, the Navy said, when about 160 members of the 1,000-member crew were aboard the ship, which was undergoing maintenance while berthed at Pier 2 at Naval Base San Diego. The ship was near the end of a lengthy, $249-million repair, maintenance and upgrade period that included modifications, done at the nearby General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard, to support the Marine Corps’ advanced F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

Despite the sailors’ efforts to attack the initial fire, it quickly spread. An explosion occurred that was heard around the base and created more debris that further fueled the fire. Sobeck said the explosion happened as the ship’s crew was attempting to activate the ship’s internal fire suppression system. It had been de-energized due to the ongoing maintenance work.

https://news.usni.org/2020/07/14/navy-fighting-2-major-fires-on-uss-bonhomme-richard-as-battle-enters-third-day#more-78336

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Apparently the island structure on this class ship is made of aluminum.  It makes you wonder what other parts of the ship are as well.

I suppose it may salvageable if the steel is still good, but metal oxidizes and gets thinner when it burns.

A newly modernized warship.  Toast.  SMDH.

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12 hours ago, JimG said:

Richard has boilers...but were they operational pierside? They may have been out of service. 

How long had the Richard been out of the loop and being worked on when this happened? I was aboard the Tarawa when it went into dry dock in Long Beach so I get the ship yard take over/crew living on a floating barge, etc. but for some reason thought this wasn't that big a deal. Not sure why I thought that...should probably use the Google machine

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4 hours ago, kingofnerf said:

Apparently the island structure on this class ship is made of aluminum.  It makes you wonder what other parts of the ship are as well.

Superstructures are made out of Al, but likely have some kind of steel framework for strength. The hull is steel. 

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So basically the Bonhomme Richard is a multi-billion dollar aluminum-bodied F150.  Watch it burn, man.  Lordy.

I wonder how folks that ordinarily work inside the island feel about the design now?  A beer can for a bridge.  One hit and you're done.

The whole world can see where this class of ship is vulnerable now.

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3 hours ago, kingofnerf said:

So basically the Bonhomme Richard is a multi-billion dollar aluminum-bodied F150.  Watch it burn, man.  Lordy.

 wonder how folks that ordinarily work inside the island feel about the design now?  A beer can for a bridge.  One hit and you're done.

The whole world can see where this class of ship is vulnerable now.

All the DDGs & CGs have aluminum superstructures. It's possible the alloy has some fire retardant properties. 

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We almost had another disaster on one of these ships. According to the article linked below, a small fire was started by a spark from welding on the USS Kearsarge, a ship very similar to the Bonnie Dick. The Navy has ordered the contractor to cease work.

 

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/07/18/us-navy-orders-to-general-dynamics-nassco-to-stop-work-after-fire-on-uss-kearsarge/

 

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1 hour ago, SwampFox said:

We almost had another disaster on one of these ships. According to the article linked below, a small fire started by a spark from welding started a fire on the USS Kearsarge, a ship very similar to the Bonnie Dick. The Navy has ordered the contractor to cease work.

 

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/07/18/us-navy-orders-to-general-dynamics-nassco-to-stop-work-after-fire-on-uss-kearsarge/

Time to set a fire watch in port while civilians are around.

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