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Amphibious Warship Gunston Hall Suffers 3 Hour Fire at Pier

The amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) transits the Arabian Gulf as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group in 2014. US Navy Photo

The amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) transits the Arabian Gulf as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group in 2014. US Navy Photo

Amphibious warship USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44) suffered a three-hour fire onboard while the ship was undergoing a maintenance availability in Portsmouth, Va. on Tuesday, officials with Expeditionary Strike Group 2 (ESG 2) told USNI News.

No one was severely injured with only one Navy firefighter treated for minor smoke inhalation, according to a statement from ESG 2.

The fire began in a second deck storeroom at about 2 p.m. EST and was initially determined to be a Class Alpha fire — or a fire fueled by common materials like paper, wood or trash — and was fought mainly with water, an ESG 2 spokesman told USNI News Tuesday evening.

The fire was declared out around 5:25 p.m. EST, according to the release.

Its still unclear the number of spaces aboard the ship that were affected or the extent of the damage.

In addition to Navy firefighters, members of the Portsmouth Fire Department assisted in fighting the blaze.

The 16,500-ton Norfolk, Va. based Gunston Hall was undergoing a regularly scheduled maintenance availability at the NASSCO/Earl Industries shipyard that was due to be completed by the end of October. The ship had recently returned from a Middle East deployment as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. A late Tuesday report in the Navy Times indicated the cause of the fire might have been a plasma cutter.

The following is the complete text of the March 3, 2015 press release from ESG 2.

Fire Aboard USS Gunston Hall

NORFOLK – Sailors aboard USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and the Portsmouth, Va. Fire and Rescue Department responded to a fire aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) at approximately 2 p.m. while the ship was undergoing a maintenance availablity at NASSCO/Earl Industries shipyard in Portsmouth, Va.

Initial reports indicate that the fire began in an unmanned storeroom below the main deck. The ship’s in-port emergency fire team responded to the initial report and the Portsmouth Fire Department was notified and responded with multiple units.

The Sailors and Portsmouth Fire Department declared the fire out at approximately 5:25 p.m.

All personnel were accounted for. One Navy firefighter experienced a minor smoke inhalation injury but quickly returned to duty.

The Sailors aboard the ship are trained in firefighting and damage control, and assisted Portsmouth Fire Department in fighting the fire.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

The Navy is grateful for the prompt and professional response of the Portsmouth Fire and Rescue Department.

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  • KenPrescott

    Exploding command pins–ARMED

  • gunnerv1

    That’s one of the few things I DON’T MISS about the Navy by being retired (’64-’86). Especially “Fire at Sea”. At Sea, when your House (your ship) burns up, you don’t have a “Front Yard” to go to, to get away from the fire.

  • Jim Barden

    The second deck is the DC deck on LSD 41’s. Heavy smoke there would have hampered firefighting efforts. I do not understand why a plasma cutter would have been in operation without a proper fire watch. (LSD 41 Eng ’87-’88).)