Update July 13, 2020 -- The fire continues burning for a second day. The County Health Dept. advises staying indoors if you smell the smoke.
Celeste Shanas sent the photo (right) with this eyewitness account:"So there are currently 2-3 military helicopters scooping up water from the bay and doing aerial drops directly above the fire. This is a little different from how fires are fought with planes in the East County. The drops today require almost surgical precision and involve many other factors that affect how the aircraft is controlled. I can see the drop bucket swaying pretty heavily after each drop, moving the helo with it. The circle from fire to water scoop -up and back to drop is pretty tight - only about a minute per cycle. Thank God for our military. Their training and readiness is on full display this morning."
Update 7:30 p.m.: 21 people are now hospitalized including several civilians.
Smoke has affected air quality regionwide. An air quality alert has been issued for National City and areas near the pier in San Diego.Heartland Fire and San Miguel Fire report receiving many calls from residents smelling fumes from the ship fire. Some residents report irritaton to skin or eyes. To avoid exposure to burning chemicals, if you smell the smoke, it's wise to stay indoors and if you have an air filter, use it.
By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
Photo courtesy San Diego Fire and Rescue
July 12, 2020 (San Diego) - Firefighters are battling a fire onboard the San Diego based ship, USS Bonhomme Richard. Approximately 160 sailors were aboard when the ship caught fire. According to Twitter updates provided by Naval Surface Forces approximately 160 sailors were on board when the fire began and all have been safely evacuated, however 18 sailors were transported to a hospital with minor injuries.