US nuclear sub ablaze in Portsmouth shipyard
Six fire crew members were injured while trying to quell a massive blaze that engulfed the nuclear-powered submarine USS Miami. The sub was being serviced at a shipyard in New Hampshire, just next to the city of Portsmouth.
Crews from at least three states worked for six hours at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, but only just managed to stop the fire from spreading.
Workers from the dry docks where the submarine was maintained, had to be evacuated when its living quarters turned into a scorching inferno on Wednesday evening.
Four of the six firefighters injured have received treatment, shipyard officials reported.
The fire broke out in the forward compartment of the submarine, where the ship’s living quarters and command and control center are located.
US Navy handout of the USS Miami submarine docked in Portsmouth (Reuters / Handout)
The sub’s reactor in the rear part of the vessel was not affected and no radiation leak was detected, authorities insist. It was not operating at the time the fire started.
The nuclear reactor “remains in a safe and stable condition, as it has been since this event occurred,” shipyard spokesman Capt. Bryant Fuller said.
He added no weapons are onboard the submarine.
The USS Miami is a Los Angeles-Class attack sub that was launched in 1988 and commissioned. It has been in dry dock since March 1 for maintenance and upgrades.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is located on an island in Kittery, a town next to Portsmouth, which has a population of more than 20 thousand.