Filed by Katie Collett
Fire on Navy cruiser in shipyard sends five to hospital
Sep 17, 2007 05:09 PM EDT
A two alarm fire on board a navy ship sends five civilian contractors to the hospital. The fire began around 9:30 Saturday morning in the USS Leyte Gulf, docked at BAE Systems in Norfolk. Investigators say the fire started two decks below the main deck where repair work was being done.
Fire investigators say a buildup of explosive fumes from lacquer thinner, used to strip floors, ignited, causing a flash fire and a series of small fires. But investigators say they're not sure where the spark came from to light the fumes, though they've ruled the fire accidental.
It's estimated there were more than 300 workers on board when the fire began. Some who were evacuated say they felt an explosion, but fire investigators say that explosion is something they can't confirm yet.
"Any fire involving a ship is a big incident," says Norfolk Fire Battalion Chief Bruce Evans.
Fire fighters swarmed the deck of the Leyte Gulf. They made sure the ship was evacuated and potential hot spots were put out.
"They were doing some welding-type activity below the birthing area. Whether or not it's the cause of the fire, it's too early to say."
Evans says the fire in the sleeping quarters area was small and put out by a fire extinguisher in a matter of minutes. However, it didn't feel small to Bryant, a BAE Systems employee who was working just one level above where the fire began.
"We knew there was an explosion or whatever, we just didn't know where on the ship," says Bryant. "The ship vibrated and you could feel an intensity. The boat moved and the air just went through the space we was working in."
When Bryant made it to the main deck, he saw a devastating scene. One of his co-workers was badly burned and several others were being put onto stretchers.
A total of five civilian contractors were hurt and taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Only one suffered serious injuries. Shift supervisors say two contractors, suffered smoke inhalation, another suffered head and back injuries. So how did such a small fire hurt so many?
Evans says, "You have limited space to move in. You're in an enclosed space. There are no windows to take out to let fresh air in and get the smoke (out)."
Chief Evans emphasizes, "This is in no way believed to be any type of terrorist related event."
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Thread: Have a shipyard or port?
09-17-2007, 08:28 PM #1
Have a shipyard or port?Co 11
Virginia Beach FD
Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?
'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.
09-17-2007, 08:36 PM #2
09-18-2007, 01:27 AM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- Green Bay
Maybe not Doug, but having been prior Navy DC I think I could comment as well. As for the article, really nothing out of the ordinary as far as a fire would go. The big difference being is that there was no reference to the ships fire party and what they did to control the fire. It is easy to reference Norfolk fire and the majority of municipal FF's have no clue what a fire onboard a ship could be like. Yes, lack of open space, lack of ventilation, limited egress, so on and so forth. One of the big reasons, I will support Navy personnel looking for a fire service career. The Air Force program may be better to train future FF's, what the Navy never says is that if the fire isn't controlled, it is a long swim to the shallow end of the pool.
Point being this article has shown many difficulties sailors do encounter daily, even though it is an isolated case, it isn't because the fire personnel are not ready. Kudos to the crew and Norfolk fire, just wish there was more info as for the shipboard personnel's efforts.
09-18-2007, 10:03 AM #4"You have limited space to move in. You're in an enclosed space. There are no windows to take out to let fresh air in and get the smoke (out)."
Good sized commercial fishing boat population in my area. These guys are the kings of "jury rigging" something to keep it running/make it work. They are also extremely protective of their property. We've had to have LEO arrest members of the crew to get them off the burning boats. Small, tight working conditions. Engine rooms are usually a mess full of oil/grease/wires/etc. Almost always some firearms.
Boat fires suck."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
09-18-2007, 10:26 AM #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
- Northeast Coast
Didn't FDNY have similar issues in apartments a few years ago? I remember an article about the dangers of floor stripping as tons of buildings were being rehabbed for apartments in Manhattan.
As for boat fires, I agree with Bones. We too have a decent sized commercial fishing fleet along with a Coast Guard base and a bunch of daysailers. Fishermen tend to be "do it youselfers" and don't call until its really bad. In fact we rolled in to a local shipyard for a fire in an 80 ft. fishing boat on the ways. As we're stretching in we notice about 30-40 dead fire extinguishers laying around the place. They tried putting it out themselves for over a half hour before calling us. They seemed much less concerned than we were about the 15 acetylene bottles chained to the wall where the fire was then we were!
Last edited by RFDACM02; 09-18-2007 at 10:32 AM.
09-18-2007, 12:44 PM #6
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
- In my house
09-18-2007, 05:59 PM #7
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Former Navy myself.
Spent a lot of time training for shipboard fires. Actually fought a few as well.
Containment, Dewatering, smoke curtains to contain and direct the smoke all part of the life of a shipboard firefighter.
Venting a fire to reduce smoke and heat? Never heard of it until I was a civilian firefighter. We worked in teams, number 2 hose teams job was to provide a low-velocity water fog curtain to push the smoke and heat back. Number 1 hose team put out the fire. Believe it or not we put out a lot of fires that way.
Of course, I was in the Navy 20 years ago. OBA's, steel pots, long sleeve dungaree shirts, bell bottom denim pants tucked into my boots, maybe a pair of gloves was all the shipboard PPE we had. Couple years later we started to see flash hoods. Then some modern helmets with lights on them started showing up. Just as I was getting out, my ship got a TIC and some one-piece nomex coveralls for some of the firefighters.
My friends tell me that OBAs are a thing of the past and SCBAs are the breathing apparatus of choice now on ships.
Shipboard firefighting is a different animal than structure firefighting. If your department gets called to one, and you don't do them every day, find the ship's damage control officer and stick to him like glue. He will be your best source of information.
09-19-2007, 10:37 AM #8
I have to agree with KD. I too did my time in the Navy, I got out in 92 after 11 years when the most ppe we had were flash gloves. It is a completely different fight. The biggest things I think is 1. Venting, you had to direct the smoke with the curtains. 2. At the same time that you are fighting the fire, you are using water. What happens when a ship starts taking on water??? So at the same time you are fighting fire, you have to set up your de-watering pumps. 3. The heat: You are in an enclosed steel structure, the heat is unbelievable, the steel transmits the heat to ajoining compartments, so you have to send investigators to all ajoining compartments to check for fire spread.
When I was in Mayport, FL after the USS Stark was hit my a couple of missles, one of them spread rocket fuel everywhere. I was told it was burning at over 2000 degrees. Put that in a steel container, then get in there with it.
Shipboard is a manpower intensive situation. Get with the shipboard DC personnel, and listen to what they have to say.
Be safeBill Geyer
09-21-2007, 02:43 PM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
- Memphis Tn,USA-now
One thing to remember is most combat ships and a lot of support ships have classified spaces.If the fire has extended to that area and some kid with a .45,M14 or shotgun(what we packed in the 80s for security alerts) says'No,you can't go in there',then you best back off and let the ship's crew go to that part.Deadly force is authorized to protect the security of classified spaces.
Like others have said,the main concern is dewatering and ventilation.You don't want to sink the vessel you are trying to save and you can't cut open a destroyer with a K saw.Access is done with an oxy-acetylene torch and pry bars,and overhaul is done by soaking everything in sight with seawater.
It can be easier to control ventilation in a ship because they are closed up so much.You can make a path for better air flow than you can in a wood framed residential structure by open the doors and hatches needed and closing the ones you don't need.
Reading "Marine Firefighting for Landbased Firefighters" and "Marine Firefighting"will give you a head start and an idea of how different ships and houses are.There's also a marine firefighting school at http://www.marinefirefighting.com and your local Coast Guard office can give you contact info on local training available.
09-23-2007, 08:27 PM #10
Kind of cool, I crused on this ship in 95, Last I heard it was out of Mayport Fl.
Guess it is referb?
We have big 1000' lakers and foreign ships comming in port up here, we do some trng with ship board stuff, but if the **** hits the fan, I guess it will be sitting on the bottom.
Last edited by plisken; 09-23-2007 at 08:29 PM.Be SAFE!!! Go home when your shift is done and enjoy life.
This is MY OPINION and ONLY MINE.
Not my Departments/IAFF/WPFF
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