The Navy is investigating the cause of a fire at a maintenance yard aboard a guided missile cruiser that sent four sailors to hospital earlier this week.
A fire broke out aboard the USS Gettysburg (CG-64) Wednesday following hot work carried out on the ship during a maintenance period at the BAE Systems repair yard in Norfolk, Va., According to a service spokesperson.
“On July 7, the ship’s force and the Norfolk Fire Department responded to a small fire in a machinery space on the USS Gettysburg (CG-64). The fire was extinguished quickly after being identified, ”Douglas Denzine, spokesperson for the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC), told USNI News. “The cause of the fire is attributed to sparks from hot work. The ship was not damaged and there is no impact on the ship’s mission or operations.
The Navy takes special care to control sparks resulting from hot work – welding, flame cutting or riveting – to prevent fires.
MARMC is conducting a command investigation into the fire, Denzine confirmed to USNI News.
“Four sailors assigned to Gettysburg were transferred to a local hospital and were treated and released,” Denzine said.
A BAE Systems spokesperson referred USNI News to MARMC.
The ship was the first East Coast cruiser to begin a phased modernization program in 2015. The ship was sidelined for four years while undergoing periodic maintenance availability. In 2018, BAE won a $ 146.3 million contract to “improve the ship’s weapons and engineering equipment; Support the installation of a new Aegis combat system, a new communications suite, and Enterprise Afloat Network Systems (CANES); and renovate the living spaces of the crew aboard the 27-year-old vessel ”, according to the company.
Fire on board Gettysburg comes at the one-year mark of the fire that broke out aboard the former USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), which burned for several days last July while in San Diego, Calif., For maintenance. The Navy finally decided to scrap Bonhomme Richard because the service did not believe it was worth the cost of restoring the amphibious warship.
Ships under maintenance are at a higher risk of fire due to welding work and fewer sailors on the ship, USNI News reported last year.
In 2018, a fire broke out aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar austin (DDG-79), which was also at BAE undergoing maintenance at the time. The ship is still undergoing repairs that are expected to extend into next year, USNI News reported.
During her maintenance period following the deadly collisions of 2017, the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) also experienced several fires while in the Ingalls shipyard.