Fire Ravages Submarine: Accdent Investigation Underway on USS MIAMI
A fire broke out on board the fast attack submarine USS MIAMI (SSN 755) at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine last week. The fire took over 10 hours to put out, requiring 75 waves of firefighters to enter the ship in 10-15 minute shifts. The forward compartment of the ship, containing the control room, living quarters, torpedo room, and auxiliary machinery spaces, was severely damaged by both the fire and the nearly 3 million gallons of water that were used to fight the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation by 3 separate teams.
Here’s a link to one of the stories.
Although not assigned as a crewmember, I actually rode on board MIAMI at one time. I was also assigned to several 688-class submarines during my career. I can just imagine what it must have been like to fight a major fire onboard the submarine. Next to flooding, fire is the most serious casualty a submarine can suffer in peacetime. The power goes out, it becomes pitch black, you’re in tight quarters wearing bulky firefighting and respiratory gear, with no way for the heat to escape. It rapidly becomes an oven.
Luckily, the submarine was in port conducting an overhaul. All weapons had been removed, and no crewmembers were actually living on board. 7 crewmembers and local firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting the blaze.