Seven people were hurt in a fire that broke out Wednesday evening on the USS Miami, a Groton-based nuclear submarine at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, according to Navy officials.
Rear Admiral Rick Breckenridge, Commander, Submarine Group TWO, released a statement early Thursday morning that the fire, which burned for several hours in the forward compartment of the submarine is now out, and firefighters are still on scene to watch out for hotspots.
"Injured personnel included three Portsmouth Naval Shipyard firefighters; two ships force crew members; and two civilian firefighters providing mutual aid support. These personnel were either treated on-scene or transported to a local medical facility for further medical treatment. All but one of these individuals have been released and that individual is in stable condition," said Breckenridge.
Breckenridge also emphasized the fire never threatened the submarine's nuclear reactor.
"The nuclear propulsion spaces were physically isolated early in the event from the forward compartment fire. The ship’s reactor was not operating at the time, had been shut down for over two months, and remained in a safe and stable condition throughout the entire event. Propulsion plant spaces remained habitable and were continuously manned," Breckenridge said.
The fire occurred in a forward compartment of the USS Miami SSN 755 that is primarily used for living areas and command and control spaces. The ship's reactor was not affected.
The cause of the fire remains unknown. Firefighters and other emergency personnel are still on the scene, and all "non-essential" personnel have reportedly been evacuated from the ship.
The fire was reported at 5:41 p.m. Wednesday. Capt. Bryant Fuller, the shipyard's commander, said no weapons were on board the ship, and all personnel have been accounted for.
One firefighter was evacuated due to heat exhaustion, but was conscious and alert. Other firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
According to the shipyard's website, the USS Miami arrived in Portsmouth on March 1 for maintenance work and system upgrades.
It has a crew of 13 officers and 120 enlisted personnel. Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, the Miami was commissioned on June 30, 1990, and its home port is Groton.
Firefighters from numerous Seacoast communities, including Portsmouth, Kittery, York and South Berwick, provided mutual aid. An engine and foam truck were also requested from Logan Airport in Boston. State, local and federal authorities have been notified.
The shipyard gates remain open, and Fuller said the workforce will report to work as scheduled.