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Fire - USS Bonhomme Richard LHD-6 - 12 Jul 20

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Fire - USS Bonhomme Richard LHD-6 - 12 Jul 20

Old 13th Jul 2020, 15:04
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If an aircraft hangar would burn it would be "foamed up". Could this be done onboard a ship and would it help in this case?
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 16:09
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Seems incredible that they can't put it out - its in a navy maintenance facility FFS, not miles out at sea!

I wonder if a commercial oil fire fighting vessel could have dealt with this better/faster?

Last edited by dead_pan; 13th Jul 2020 at 16:47.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 16:41
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dead pan,
This one, on land, good access, many appliances, took 3-4 days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buncefield_fire

and this one, oil rig at sea, 3 weeks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_Alpha
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 16:46
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Originally Posted by safetypee View Post
dead pan,
This one, on land, good access, many appliances, took 3-4 days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buncefield_fire
Yup, I remember being woken up by the blast, some 40 miles distant (and seeing the plume for a couple of days afterwards)...

Not really comparable though - that was a vast inferno in an oil storage facility.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 17:05
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Latest official statement from the USN https://www.navy.mil/submit/display....campaign=Fight
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 17:13
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Local news coverage - shows multiple fireboats with water monitors trying to keep the hull cool due to the 1M gals of fuel:

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Old 13th Jul 2020, 17:15
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Originally Posted by dead_pan View Post
Seems incredible that they can't put it out - its in a navy maintenance facility FFS, not miles out at sea!

I wonder if a commercial oil fire fighting vessel could have dealt with this better/faster?
Ship fires are one of the most difficult fire fighting challenges.
Ships are basically space divided in to a series of (in this case, hundreds) of compartmentalised spaces.
The fire has to be fought as it emerges from those compartmnts - if it is unsafe for crews to enter and automatic fire suppression is unavailable or ineffective.
In this case there is a million gallons of JP-5 fuel in the bilges making it indeed most unsafe to hang around in there.

The fact that the ship was in maintenance most probably assumes that hatches, doors, fire doors were open, blocked by maintenance equipment, tools, etc. Hell of a mess basically and much compromised in terms of fire safety.

Just watch a couple of ship fire fighting exercises on youtube and you'll see how truly scary/ difficult/ horrendous the whole thing is.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 17:20
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Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck, commander, ESG 3, and Capt. Will Eastham, HSC-3 commanding officer, held a press conference at @NavBaseSD Pass and ID (ie Main Entrance) at 11:00 a.m. July 13 to provide updates and discuss ongoing efforts to combat the fire on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).
Over 400 sailors have been involved in the firefighting operations.
34 USN and 23 civilians treated in hospital - mostly for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
Not speculating on extent of damage and future of ship until fire extinguished and extent of damage determined "making every effort to save the ship".
Fire is flashing up into tower superstructure and there is another source near the bow - the forward mast has collapsed.
Has burned through the forward skin - ship is listing.
"There is a good buffer between the heat source and the fuel - or at least we think there is" !
The HALON firefighting system was disconnected due to the maintenance work.




Last edited by RAFEngO74to09; 13th Jul 2020 at 18:37.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 18:39
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In his earlier press conference RAdm Sobeck mentioned the fire as having started in the Lower Vehicle Stowage (highlighted in yellow). This solved my confusion as to where the smoke was coming from. As it's reached the island, presumably it will have reached the huge open space of the LC Well deck (which is open at the stern so will allow oxygen to be drawn in) and possibly into the machinery space. Good job the magazines immediately below appear to be empty (according to RAdm Sobeck). I salute the high degree of commitment and bravery being shown fighting a fire over 1m galls of AVCAT. I pray there will be no serious casualties. As the admiral says, fire fighting on ship is one of the early skills drilled into sailors - in my experience the simulators make you very aware of the need for the training. As an LHD she is designed, obviously, to be able to take on board a lot of water - she draws an extra 7 feet when ballasted on top of normal full load displacement.



Source: fas.org (Federation of American Scientists)
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 18:49
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A good diagram. One supposes the AVCAT (JP-5) was being held in Hold 21. There was a vid earlier showing pipework up the stern - maybe they were hastily pumping out.

Latest on KUSI - San Diego TV station - shows a lot of white smoke now - which is is a good thing.

https://www.kusi.com/only-on-kusi/livestream/
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 19:12
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Originally Posted by WB627 View Post
Why would they leave 1,000,000 gallons of fuel on board during a 24 month refit? Doesn't it go off like petrol?
1.000.000 gallons sounds like a lot, but this seaman ordered his bunker in m3 and then we're talking about 4.000 m3 which isn't a lot for a ship with this kind of power. All provided we talk fuel for the boilers. This would be heavy fuel oil which needs to be heated to flow, let alone ignite. Add in some marine diesel oil for auxiliaries and some Jet fuel for flying thingies. None if which is likely to blow up, just burn. I can't see any reason to remove the fuel, unless work was taking place in the bunker tanks or hot work nearby.
Fighting fires on a ship is no fun, I've had my share. Anyways, always sad to she a ship in distress.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 19:53
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Empty fuel tanks are much more dangerous than full ones. I doubt that the fuel tanks will be compensated (by being filled with water as the fuel is used) as that causes extra water in the fuel and can cause oil pollution when the tank is refilled and the compensating water is returned to the oggin. Fuel oil pollution would not go down well in California especially.

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Old 13th Jul 2020, 19:56
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Originally Posted by WB627 View Post
Why would they leave 1,000,000 gallons of fuel on board during a 24 month refit? Doesn't it go off like petrol?
I think WB627 (whose location says he's in England) may have been using British idiom where to 'go off' can mean to decompose or deteriorate, rather than to explode. In that sense, petrol (gasoline) does 'go off' if stored too long, because the lighter fractions evaporate. But AFAIK that happens less with heavier products. The million gallons of fuel is probably bunker fuel (for the ship's engines) which is really heavy, and/or JP-5 jet fuel for the aircraft, which is roughly kerosene, heavier than petrol (gasoline) and somewhat heavier and with a higher flash point than the Jet A1 that civilian jet pilots know. I wouldn't think that either bunker fuel or JP-5 would deteriorate too much in 24 months if held in properly closed tanks.
In the sense of 'go off' meaning 'explode': kerosene (or Jet A1 or JP-5) doesn't explode like petrol (gasoline) – it just burns, as many aircraft incidents have shown. Bunker fuel certainly doesn't explode.

And by the way, those million gallons are US gallons, only about 3¾ litres – that much fuel doesn't move either an aircraft carrier or a jet fighter very far at all, so you need a lot of gallons to get anywhere.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 20:06
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Re the fire spread etc, one can imagine a lot of safeguards could be disabled due to the on going works, as an example, you wouldn’t want a fire suppression system live while welding is taking place in those areas. One just hopes they get it under control with the minimum of damage, I wonder if this may increase the US deployment on our carriers to compensate in the short term, it seems there is a worry about the contracts to build the support ships now due to the Covid costs.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 21:36
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Contrary to what's been suggested earlier in this thread, heavy fuel oil (bunker) tanks can certainly explode. (Over the course of my career, I've surveyed many ships on which this has happened). The flash point of HFO is usually specified at 60C minimum but typically around 70-100C. If the fuel is heated in excess of this by adjacent fire, flammable vapours will be produced, and the mixture in the tank ullage space will tend towards the flammable range. If an ignition source is then introduced, there will be an explosion.
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Old 14th Jul 2020, 03:48
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Originally Posted by dogsridewith View Post
I'm a bit uncomfortable posting hindsight-20/20 and 2nd guessing. But, maybe earlier in the fire, would there have been possibility/consideration of towing the ship out to sea? Would that be a better place for the million gallons of fuel to burn/explode/leak than at the port location?
drw, suggested and discussed somewhat earlier in the thread.
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Old 14th Jul 2020, 04:43
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Towing it to sea is admitting defeat.
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Old 14th Jul 2020, 04:52
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Auxtank View Post
Ship fires are one of the most difficult fire fighting challenges.
Ships are basically space divided in to a series of (in this case, hundreds) of compartmentalised spaces.
The fire has to be fought as it emerges from those compartmnts - if it is unsafe for crews to enter and automatic fire suppression is unavailable or ineffective.
In this case there is a million gallons of JP-5 fuel in the bilges making it indeed most unsafe to hang around in there.

The fact that the ship was in maintenance most probably assumes that hatches, doors, fire doors were open, blocked by maintenance equipment, tools, etc. Hell of a mess basically and much compromised in terms of fire safety.

Just watch a couple of ship fire fighting exercises on youtube and you'll see how truly scary/ difficult/ horrendous the whole thing is.

I’ve served on a carrier as a naval officer and I can assure you that our fire training and damage control training was very rigorous and as realistic as can be. Fire fighting in darkened spaces with real fires involving ladders, multiple compartments and decks even with ‘fear naught’ suits and oxygen taxes one’s strengths.

Bravo Zulu to all involved on Bonnie Dick
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Old 14th Jul 2020, 08:08
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Old 14th Jul 2020, 09:06
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It does look like they are winning the fight



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