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Sat, May 24, 2008

Carrier 'George Washington' Secured After Onboard Fire

Ship Now Steaming Home To San Diego

At approximately 0750 local time on May 22, a fire was detected in the vicinity of the aft air conditioning and refrigeration space and auxiliary boiler room aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

The fire spread to several spaces via a cableway and caused extreme heat in some of the ship spaces, but it was contained and extinguished by the crew without any serious injuries to personnel. It took several hours to completely contain and extinguish the fire.

The ship had been conducting a routine replenishment at sea in the Pacific Ocean with USS Crommelin (FFG 37) when smoke was observed and an emergency breakaway was initiated.

There were no serious injuries. Twenty-three Sailors were treated for heat stress, and one Sailor was treated for first degree burns. The ship's crew was at general quarters for approximately 12 hours.

"There's only one word for the effort this team made to combat the fire and that is heroic," said USS George Washington Commanding Officer Capt. Dave Dykhoff. "The effectiveness of the damage control effort also clearly demonstrated the quality of our training, procedures and systems."

The ship's propulsion plant was not damaged, and there were no reactor safety issues as a result of the fire. The ship has full propulsion capability.

George Washington is continuing as scheduled to San Diego prior to relieving the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the forward deployed aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific this summer.

An investigation into the cause and full assessment of damage caused by the fire is ongoing.



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