A massive blaze aboard a billion-dollar US Navy warship has been extinguished after raging for four days — but its effect might be felt across America’s Pacific Fleet for years.
Navy officials said the fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship undergoing maintenance and upgrades at a port in San Diego, was put out last Thursday. Reaching temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit (about 650 degrees Celsius), it melted aluminum and incinerated wiring, plastics and combustibles like drywall, bedding and office supplies, while filling the 850-foot (260-meter) vessel with thick smoke.
The true extent of the damage, however, remains unknown. Engineers will need to get into the ship to assess the destruction once the spaces inside cool down, officials said.
The Navy’s top officer, Adm. Mike Gilday, said Friday there would be a thorough investigation of the fire’s cause.
Either way, the long-term impacts are significant. The Bonhomme Richard, which resembles a baby aircraft carrier, was being upgraded to accommodate some of the newest and most sophisticated warplanes in the US arsenal, Marine Corps F-35Bs.
It was to be one of only four ships in the US fleet with the ability to handle the F-35Bs — meaning its absence will be felt.
Read more at CNN.