Flames raged for hours on board a U.S. warship docked at Naval Base San Diego, sending 21 people to the hospital with minor injuries.
On Sunday morning the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department reported an explosion in conjunction with the blaze aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault vessel in port for routine maintenance.
Rear Admiral Philip Sobek said the Navy was investigating the cause of the blast.
"There were reports of an explosion.
What we cannot ascertain is actually what that explosion was caused from." While the precise source of the blaze was unknown, Sobek said the fire originated in a lower cargo hold of the ship and spread into the decks above it.
Navy spokesman Mike Raney told Reuters there was no immediate evidence of foul play.
Palls of thick, acrid smoke visible for miles around the base engulfed much of the 844-foot (257 meter) warship for several hours, as about half a dozen firefighting boats aimed water cannons atthe burning vessel.
The Navy said seventeen sailors and four civilians were taken to local hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, and all those who were aboard the warship - about 160 personnel - were accounted for.
Sobeck said the hospitalized sailors were all listed in stable condition.
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