Two-alarm fire breaks out aboard carrier Coral Sea

November 04, 1996|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

City firefighters last night battled a smoldering two-alarm fire aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier Coral Sea that is being dismantled at a berth in the Patapsco River off the 2900 block of Childs St. in South Baltimore.

The fire, which broke out about 4: 04 p.m. in a confined area at least eight decks below the flight deck of the 50-year-old carrier, was reported by the Coast Guard, said a Fire Department spokesman.

The fire sent columns of smoke into the air and a second alarm was sounded at 4: 24 p.m., bringing 14 pieces of equipment and nearly 60 firefighters to the scene.

Firefighters wearing gas masks and carrying portable lights entered the massive ship's holds and compartments, attempting to find the source of the fire, while a city fireboat and a Coast Guard vessel stood by, the spokesman said.

He said the fire was confined but not extinguished by 8 p.m. and firefighters remained on the scene, making certain no other fires broke out overnight, the spokesman said.

Four firefighters suffered minor burns and were being treated at the regional burn center at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Southeast Baltimore, a Fire Department dispatcher said.

The Coral Sea's keel was laid in July 1944 and launched in April 1946, and the carrier was completed in October 1947. The carrier played a major role in the airstrikes against Libya in 1986.

Last year, a four-alarm fire inside the ship, caused by welders, injured several firefighters.

Pub Date: 11/04/96

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