Navy warship rocked by fiery explosion, dozens aboard injured

A United States Navy ship was rocked this week by an explosion that led to a fire and dozens of injuries.

According to NPR, the USS Bonhomme Richard caught fire on Sunday after the blast, injuring at least 57 individuals. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

Reported injuries were minor

Fortunately, only a skeleton crew was aboard at the time and no serious injuries were reported.

Of the 57 confirmed injuries, 34 were sailors and 23 were civilians. Heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation were the most common medical issues.

In total, just five people remained hospitalized Monday with injuries not expected to be life-threatening.

Damage to the ship was extensive

While the physical toll was relatively low, sources say the blaze could take firefighters days to fully extinguish. Local emergency agencies including the San Diego Fire Department aided Navy crews on tug boats to work in shifts against the fire.

At the time of the incident, the ship was docked as it underwent repairs and maintenance. Now it is slated to remain out of commission for much longer than originally expected.

Cause remains under investigation

In a statement acknowledging the damage, the Navy insisted that the warship would be repaired as quickly as possible so it can resume its intended military function.

Reports indicate the ship is primarily used to transport Marines for amphibious assaults.

As for the cause of the explosion, Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck said the matter remains under investigation. He said in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, however, that the fire appears to have originated in an area used to store cargo including vehicles and other equipment.

The cost of repairs prior to the fire was estimated to be about $250 million, but that figure will now be significantly higher.

Hopefully, the civilian and military officials involved in fighting the blaze, repairing the damage, and investigating the cause will be successful, allowing the USS Bonhomme Richard and its crew to once again perform their service for the nation.

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