Fire Onboard Nuclear Powered USS George Washington: 24 Sailors Treated

by OldSailor on May 24, 2008



Fire onboard nuclear powered Nimitz class US Aircraft Carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) on May 22 was successfully contained and extinguished by the ships crew without any serious injuries to the crew. Fire was noticed when the carrier was conducting a routine Replenishment At Sea in the Pacific Ocean with USS Crommelin (FFG 37). USS George Washington is now continuing her voyage as scheduled to San Diego.

  • fire was detected in the morning near aft air conditioning and refrigeration space and auxiliary boiler room
  • fire spread to more places through electrical cable way
  • ships crew as a team heroically extinguished the fire after several hours of fire fighting
  • 23 crew members were treated for heat stress and one crew was treated for first degree burns
  • no damage to propulsion plant and reactor is reported

Here are some photographs of fire fighting.



U.S. Navy photos by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Dennis Herring.

An investigation is going on regarding the cause of fire and damage due to fire. For more photographs and more information read navy.

Update: June 06

Improper stowage of flammable materials worsened the fire onboard. Read more from signonsandiego.

Update: June 20

The U.S. Navy has almost completed assessment of the mechanical, electrical, electronic and structural systems affected by the May 22 fire aboard George Washington. Read more from

Update: July 14

About 13,000 protesters gathered on July 13 at the port of Yokosuka, just south of the capital, to protest against permanent basing of nuclear powered USS George Washington aircraft carrier in Japan. Reason: the recent fire accident in the aircraft carrier. Read more from Mainichi Daily News.

Update: July 19

U.S Navy plans to base USS George Washington in Japan by late September. Read more from Mainichi Daily News.

Update: July 31

The investigation is over and has been found that the likely cause of the fire was due to unauthorized smoking that ignited flammable liquids and other combustible material improperly stored in an adjacent space. The fire and the subsequent magnitude of the fire were the result of a series of human acts that could have been prevented. Specifically, the storage of 90 gallons of refrigerant compressor oil in an unauthorized space contributed to the intensity of the fire.

The Commanding Officer and the Executive Officer have been relieved.

Also the estimated cost of repairs to George Washington as a direct result of the shipboard fire is approximately $70 million. Read more from U.S.Navy.

Update: August 21

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, visited USS George Washington (CVN 73) at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, on Aug. 19, to address the crew and take questions as the ship prepares to get underway for Yokosuka, Japan. Read more from U.S.Navy.

Update: August 22

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) with her crew of approximately 5,500 Sailors departed San Diego on August 21, to begin her journey to Yokosuka, Japan to replace USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the United States’ only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier. Read more from U.S.Navy.

Update: October 03

USS George Washington arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on September 25. Now she has headed out to sea from Yokosuka on October 01, for the first time as the Navy’s only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier to conduct training and to participate in exercises with regional naval partners. Read more from U.S.Navy.

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