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Resident Curmudgeon
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She's been burning for three days; the Navy and the San Diego Fire Department can't seem to get a handle on the fire; there are holes burned through the flight deck; and she is starting to list from all the water being used to fight the fire. If the photos in the article are anything to go by, the vehicle deck and the hangar deck are burned out.

She may be a total loss, and that is presuming she doesn't roll over at the dock.

https://americanmilitarynews.com/20...ium=webpush&utm_source=push&utm_campaign=push
 

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Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler
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Dang, bad news! Hope they can rebuild her, but fire severely weakens steel, changing the temper. Could be a total write-off. Navy may need to contract for a replacement ship, or add one to an existing contract if they are still building them.
 

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What's in there to cause that kind of fire/heat? Is the temperature great enough to ignite steel?
As I understand it, nearly everything in a ship causes heat, is flammable or is under enough pressure to be potentially explosive. I think the big issue is that there are few fire retardants as good as asbestos - which is no longer being used - and most of the ones that are as good would increase the cost of building a ship 100 fold.

The Navy wasn't worried about this because they have this fancy-pants fire suppression system - which was turned off.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
According to the Navy Times articles, the hatches and scuttles were mostly open so cables could be run to power equipment, giving the fire routes up to the main deck. The mainmast has collapsed and there is massive damage to the superstructure. The fire started in the vehicle bay and spread into the hangar deck. I saw pictures on another site of both; they look to be burned out. Not as bad as the pictures from the 1973 Sea Witch - Esso Brussels collision in New York Harbor we studied (an educational film for maritime professionals was made about it; it's required viewing at the academies) in firefighting training, where the heat was hot enough to melt the container frames and the interior of the deckhouse was reduced to ashes, but it's bad.

If the vehicle bay and the hangar deck are burned to a crisp, the Bonhomme Richard is going to be a total loss. I'll remind you that the USS Bunker Hill and the USS Franklin had serious fires as the result of kamikaze hits in World War II, and though they were repaired and officially brought back to spec, the Navy never reactivated them or modernized them. After they came back out of the shipyards they went straight into the reserve fleet, where they remained until they were scrapped. You cannot heat the steel the way it is heated in a fire, gradually cool it, and expect it to retain its strength; ask any knifesmith, swordsmith, or blacksmith. I'm afraid she's gone.

Maybe the Navy will name her replacement Guadalcanal, after Dan Gallery's escort carrier that captured the U-505.
 
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I'm retired Navy, years of ship repair/maintenance. extensive damage control experience. (When I stepped aboard USS Stark, as part of the repair evaluation team, my boots stuck to the deck, from the heat)

That said, Yard overhaul is a very stressful and dangerous time in a ship's life. Since the early 90's, when a ship enters an overhaul cycle, a skeleton crew is left aboard and the ship is, effectively, turned over to civilians for repairs and upgrades. She is still in commission, (hence the small crew of watch standers)but belongs to the yard master in all other respects.

Shipyard workers are usually not well versed in damage control, fire safety/control is not a high priority, these guy's have industrial repair skills, highly compartmentalized, Putting out a fire is just not in their job description.

When the "Bonnie Dick" caught fire, there were very few trained fire fighters aboard, very little "skin in the game" so to speak.
Without an organized drilled and qualified damage control team in place, she was effectively turned over to a small, relatively under trained for shipboard emergencies, civilian fire fighting group, and then, abandoned to the tugs and fire boats of the port authority.

When the fires are finally out, the Bonnie Dick will die. She will have died for lack of a small highly trained "flying squad" trained to stop small emergencies from turning into ship killers. After that much heat, for that long, she's "cooked" beyond repair.

A Sad end to a proud ship of the line, lamentable, but final just the same.

Paul, HTC/SW/DV/PJ Retired
PS, We put the Stark back to sea, but her soul was dead.
 

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She's been burning for three days; the Navy and the San Diego Fire Department can't seem to get a handle on the fire; there are holes burned through the flight deck; and she is starting to list from all the water being used to fight the fire. If the photos in the article are anything to go by, the vehicle deck and the hangar deck are burned out.

She may be a total loss, and that is presuming she doesn't roll over at the dock.

https://americanmilitarynews.com/20...ium=webpush&utm_source=push&utm_campaign=push
Well, I suspect that after 3 days of burning like she has, what they might do rather than try to repair the damage is salvage the keel and engines (if possible) then just rebuild her from the keel up. That would save some from the cost of building a new one from scratch.
 

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If the Navy does that, they ought to change her name to the USS Merrimack. That is what the Confederate States Navy did when they turned the lower hull and engine of the Merrimack into the ironclad CSS Virginia.
 
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If the Navy does that, they ought to change her name to the USS Merrimack. That is what the Confederate States Navy did when they turned the lower hull and engine of the Merrimack into the ironclad CSS Virginia.
LOL - somehow I have the distinct feeling they aren't going to rename it to the Merrimack :)
 

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LOL - somehow I have the distinct feeling they aren't going to rename it to the Merrimack :)
Why not? The Merrimack had an honorable career before the Navy had to burn her to keep her out of Confederate hands. And you have to admit, the case are somewhat similar: Everything above the waterline in the BHR is toast.
 

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I am thinking they realized it is gone and can never be repaired. Probably just trying to get fire out and keep it afloat. That way it does not have to be refloated or hauled from the bottom. Its easier to tow the wreckage to a dry dock to scrap. At least they get quite a bit scrap instead of nothing. I watch them scrap many ships and larger craft near me. Apparently there is still a little money in scrap still
 

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What's in there to cause that kind of fire/heat? Is the temperature great enough to ignite steel?
The cause of the fire appears to have been a pile of rags down on the amphib deck. They were in an area where the Halon fire supression system was down because it was being updated as part of the yard work and there were also boxes around. Such rags are always a risk for spontaneous combustion.
It's not the steel that would start burning / melting first. It's the aluminum. There is a lot of aluminum in ships and usually most of the superstructure is made from it to reduce weight. The aluminum alloys have magnesium in the mix also. 1000 degrees of heat will start it burning. Then it starts burning really hot.
 

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I am thinking they realized it is gone and can never be repaired. Probably just trying to get fire out and keep it afloat. That way it does not have to be refloated or hauled from the bottom. Its easier to tow the wreckage to a dry dock to scrap. At least they get quite a bit scrap instead of nothing. I watch them scrap many ships and larger craft near me. Apparently there is still a little money in scrap still
There's another issue too. They're trying to keep about a million gallons of oil on board from spilling into the harbor. They have containment booms on standby just in case. IF that oil spills into the harbor then ignites, it will be a very big disaster.
 

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The cause of the fire appears to have been a pile of rags down on the amphib deck. They were in an area where the Halon fire supression system was down because it was being updated as part of the yard work and there were also boxes around. Such rags are always a risk for spontaneous combustion.
It's not the steel that would start burning / melting first. It's the aluminum. There is a lot of aluminum in ships and usually most of the superstructure is made from it to reduce weight. The aluminum alloys have magnesium in the mix also. 1000 degrees of heat will start it burning. Then it starts burning really hot.
That makes sense. Thanks.
 
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