UPDATED 4:20 p.m. July 16, 2020:

USS Bonhomme Richard Fire


WASHINGTON (NNS) -- UPDATED 4:20 p.m. July 16, 2020: 

Statement from Rear Admiral Philip E. Sobeck Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Three

After four days of firefighting, all known fires have been extinguished aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).

Our fire teams are investigating every space to verify the absence of fire. Until every space is checked and there are no active fires we will not be able to commence any official investigations.

We did not know the origin of the fire. We do not know the extent of the damage. It is too early to make any predictions or promises of what the future of the ship will be. 

We cannot make any conclusions, until the investigation is complete.

What we do know is that brave Sailors from commands all across San Diego worked tirelessly alongside Federal Firefighters to get this fire extinguished and I want to thank them for their efforts. This was a Navy team effort. We had support from the air and sea. Three helicopter squadrons conducted more than 1,500 water bucket drops, fighting the fire and cooling the super structure and flight deck enabling fire crews to get onboard to fight the fire. Tugs also provided firefighting support from the waterline, cooling the ship’s hull.

We had 63 personnel, 40 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. We have no personnel hospitalized.

The Navy continues to work together with regulators, county and state in protecting our environment and preparing to address the community’s concerns as we move forward to the next phase.

I’d like to thank our partners from state and county, the U.S. Coast Guard, and all agencies for continued support.    

UPDATED 9:30 a.m. July 16, 2020:

As of 6:00 a.m. Pacific time July 16, firefighting teams are on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) continuing operations. The total personnel treated for minor injuries remains 63, 40 Sailors and 23 civilians.Will continue to provide updates via our social media platforms.  

UPDATED 2:30 a.m. July 16, 2020:

Out of an abundance of caution the pier and ship were cleared of personnel due to an initial shift in the ship’s list.  Personnel are now pier side. We will continue to monitor  as the ship settles.

For further information please contact: comnavsurfpac@gmail.com and (619) 556-0425. Please continue to check Surface Warriors social media at www.about.me/surfacewarriors. 

UPDATED 9:00 a.m. July 15, 2020:


As of 9:00 a.m. EDT July 15, firefighting teams continue operations on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), 63 personnel, 40 Sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Currently, there are no personnel hospitalized. Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 3 has conducted more than 1,500 helicopter water bucket drops, which are cooling the super-structure and flight deck, enabling fire crews to get onboard to fight the fire internally.


UPDATED 11:48 p.m. July 14, 2020:


USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Sailors, the brave group of firefighters from waterfront commands throughout the region, and Federal Fire Department San Diego appreciate the incredible support and generosity shown by San Diego and our strong Navy family.  


At this time, the Navy is assisting Bonhomme Richard Sailors affected by the fire with all essential items. If you are considering making a donation, please be aware of scams and unofficial sites. 


NCIS urges the DON family and community members to remain vigilant of fraudulent GoFundMe pages and other fraudulent charities soliciting for donations in response to the fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).


Please report tips to NCIS using the NCIS Tips app or at your local NCIS office.


Contact information for local NCIS offices may be found at: www.ncis.navy.mil.


UPDATED 9:30 p.m. July 14, 2020:

Federal Fire Department San Diego and US Navy Sailors continue to fight the fire to save the ship, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE (HSC 3)  has conducted more than 1,200 helicopter water bucket drops, which is cooling the super structure and flight deck enabling fire crews to get onboard internally to fight the fire. Tugs are also providing firefighting support from the waterline.

Fire teams consisting of Federal Fire San Diego and U.S. Navy Sailors have been fighting the fire aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). The fire teams consist of more than 400 Sailors from 12 San Diego-based ships. The ships providing firefighting support include:

          USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)

          USS Cowpens (CG 63)

          USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62)

          USS Decatur (DDG 73)

          USS Tulsa (LCS 16)

          USS Shoup (DDG 86)

          USS Rushmore (LSD 47)

          USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49)

          USS San Diego (LPD 22)

          USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)

          USS Stethem (DDG 63)

          USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26)

Federal Fire entities:

          MCAS Miramar

          San Diego

          Ventura County

          NAF El Centro

Additional DOD firefighting agencies:

          Camp Pendleton Fire Dept.

          Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Fire Dept.

UPDATED 2:00 p.m. July 14, 2020:

Below is the press conference opening statement from Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3.

Good morning. My name is Rear Admiral Philip Sobeck, and I am the Expeditionary Strike Group THREE commander. I’d like to start by thanking the people of San Diego, National City, Coronado, and all the other communities in San Diego County for their continued support. For more than 48 hours, brave Sailors from commands all across San Diego have been working tirelessly alongside Federal Fire San Diego to get this fire under control and I want to thank them for their efforts. I want to provide you with some updates on the progress we have made: First, we have investigated the four main engineering spaces and found no major damage. There is no threat to the fuel tanks, which is well-below any active fires or heat sources. The ship is stable and the structure is safe. We still have an active fire, which we are combatting from both within and outside the ship from multiple access points. HSC 3 helicopters have conducted more than 1,000 helicopter water bucket drops, which is cooling the super structure and flight deck enabling fire crews to get onboard internally to fight the fire. Tugs are also provide firefighting support from the waterline. I’m proud of the toughness of the Sailors and Federal Firefighters for making this significant progress possible. At this time there are 61 personnel, 38 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Currently, there are no personnel hospitalized. Going forward, the Navy will do a thorough investigation of the incident to include assessing the cause of the fire and damage to the ship, but right now our focus remains on putting out the fire and keeping people safe. I’d like to also thank our partners from state and county as well as the Coast Guard for monitoring the potential impacts to the environment. As we continue to fight the fire, we remain cognizant of environmental concerns regarding the water and air quality. We recommend residents follow county advisories for safety out of an abundance of caution. Thank you again for your being here and we are now ready to take your questions.

UPDATED 11:30 p.m. July 13, 2020: 

In the past 48 hours, Federal Fire Department San Diego and U.S. Navy Sailors have conducted numerous firefighting operations, making significant progress with the help of aerial firefighting operations conducted by U.S. Navy helicopters. Crews from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3 will continue efforts throughout the night.

UPDATED 9:06 p.m. July 13, 2020: 

As of 6:30 p.m. (EST) July 13, firefighting teams continue operations on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). 59 personnel, 36 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Currently, there are no personnel hospitalized.

Below is a statement from Cmdr. Chris Wright, Response Department Head, Coast Guard Sector San Diego. 

While the United States Navy continues to effect response actions to quell the fire aboard the USS BONHOMME RICHARD, the United States Coast Guard continues to assess environmental sensitivities and has contracted an Oil Spill Response Organization to preemptively deploy protective boom to guard against any potential environmental concerns. A one-nautical mile safety zone has been established to ensure the safety of the maritime public. Additionally, a one-nautical mile temporary flight-restriction zone from surface to 3,000 feet altitude has been established to maintain the safety of all firefighting aircraft. Neighboring marinas are also currently being advised to utilize protective safety measures. The safety of first responders, protection of the marine environment and the uninterrupted flow of commerce remain the highest concerns to the Coast Guard. Responders will continue to monitor and assess potential environmental concerns and adjust response actions to ensure the safety and security of the maritime public and the marine environment.

UPDATED 9:30 a.m. July 13, 2020: 

Firefighting teams continue operations on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Fifty-seven personnel, both U.S. Navy Sailors and civilians, have been treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Of those, five remain hospitalized for observation and are currently in stable condition.

UPDATED 6:49 a.m. July 13, 2020:

As of 6:49 a.m. firefighting teams continue operations continue on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in addition to aerial firefighting operations that commenced via helicopter water bucket at 1:30 a.m. PST with two helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE.


There are 5 Sailors admitted to local hospitals for observation. All are in stable condition.

UPDATED 2:19 a.m. July 13, 2020:

As of 2:00 a.m. defensive operations continue on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Additionally, aerial firefighting operations commenced via helicopter water bucket at 1:30 a.m. with two helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron THREE.


As of 1:24 a.m., there are 15 personnel including 13 Sailors and two Federal Fire firefighters, admitted to local hospitals. All are currently in stable condition.

UPDATED 1:34 a.m. July 13, 2020:

As of 12:00 a.m. July 13, 2020, there are 16 personnel including 15 Sailors and one Federal Fire firefighter, admitted to local hospitals. All are currently in stable condition.


The firefighting efforts are on board USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) are ongoing. Further updates will be provided as they become available.

UPDATED 7:00 p.m. July 12, 2020:

Federal Fire San Diego is the on-scene lead for firefighting efforts on Naval Base San Diego combatting the fire on USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).


"Currently there are two firefighting teams fighting the fire aboard the ship,” said Federal Fire San Diego Division Chief Rob Bondurant. “Federal Fire is rotating their crews aboard the ship with U.S. Navy firefighting crews from the waterfront to fight the fire in order to, find the seat of the fire and extinguish it.  Also, Navy Region Southwest tugs are also continuously combatting the fire from the bay”


The origin of the fire is still unknown and is pending investigation.

UPDATED 6:46 p.m. July 12, 2020:

Sailors reported a fire aboard the wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) while moored pier side at Naval Base San Diego July 12, at approximately 11:30 a.m. eastern daylight time. 


Thus far seventeen Sailors and four civilians are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at a local hospital. All crew members have been accounted for.


At approximately 4:00 p.m. the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Russell (DDG 59) shifted berths to a pier further away from the fire.


Bonhomme Richard is in San Diego for a regularly scheduled maintenance availability.


Naval Base San Diego, the City of San Diego Fire Department, Harbor Police fire boats, and fire teams from other ships continue firefighting efforts.


More information will be released as it becomes available.