The USS George Washington, CVN-73, was previously homeported in Norfolk, Virginia. Her new homeport is Yokosuka, Japan, and while on her way to that new home, while conducting a routine replenishment operation in the Pacific Ocean, a fire broke out. The fire aboard the USS George Washington injured 24 sailors. None of the injuries were serious, although one sailor was treated for first-degree burns and the others were treated for heat stress.
When the fire broke out the crew of the George Washington was at general quarters (high alert, “All Hands Man Your Battle Stations”) for 12 hours. The location of the fire was in an aft space where the air conditioning, refrigeration, and boiler room is located. The fire spread to a number of spaces in the vicinity, but it did not damage the carrier’s nuclear propulsion plant.
The U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier remains able to continue forward with full propulsion capability. Her next fleet stop is San Diego. The new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan will follow, where she will be homeported so that she may relieve USS Kitty Hawk, and formerly San Diego homebased vessel before her stint in Japan, in the Western Pacific.
The cause of the fire aboard the USS George Washington remains unknown, but is under investigation. It took sailors several hours to extinguish the blaze. Fighting fire aboard a Navy ship is heavily trained for, and enlists all hands in the effort.