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May 24, 2012

U.S. News: Fire breaks out on US nuclear submarine, injuring 7

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thumbnail Fire breaks out on US nuclear submarine, injuring 7
May 24th 2012, 13:07


A fire broke out on a nuclear submarine in Maine, injuring seven people, but officials say there's no damage to the reactor and no nuclear threat. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports.

By staff and wire services

A fire that broke out Wednesday evening on a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine docked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine injured at least seven people but there were no deaths, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.

Damage from the fire, which began shortly before 6 p.m. on the USS Miami, an attack submarine docked at the Kittery, Maine, shipyard, was limited to the forward compartment spaces, which include living as well as command and control spaces, Rear Admiral Rick Breckenridge said in a statement.

The submarine was undergoing maintenance.

Breckenridge, who is in charge of submarines in the region, said the ship's nuclear reactor has been shut down for more than two months and remained in safe and stable condition throughout the event. There were no weapons on board in the torpedo room, he said.

The cause of the fire has not yet been identified, Breckenridge said. A full investigation is taking place.

The fire spread to spaces within the submarine that were difficult to reach, Breckenridge said, making it challenging for firefighters to battle the blaze. The fire was brought under control by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard's department, along with several area fire departments. It took hours for the blaze to be extinguished.

The injured personnel included three Portsmouth Naval Shipyard firefighters, two crew members and two civilian firefighters providing support. They were either treated on scene or taken to a local medical facility. All have been released.

The submarine, whose home port is Croton, Conn., arrived at the shipyard in March. It is worth about $600 million, typically carries a crew of 13 officers and 120 enlisted personnel, and is armed with Tomahawk missiles.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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