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Blue Ridge Provide Firefighting Aid to Philippine Vessel

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070213-03
Release Date: 2/13/2007 11:44:00 AM


Special USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

CEBU, Philippines (NNS) -- While in port during a regularly scheduled visit Feb. 12, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) responded to a request from local authorities to assist in combating a fire that had broken out on board super ferry, Manila Bay I.

The Philippine merchant vessel had been undergoing repairs while in port when hot work, or welding, produced an intense fire that ripped through the ship’s bridge and continued to burn two decks down and spread aft.

Local authorities had initially attempted to control the fire themselves, but once a re-flash occurred, the fire was deemed out of control and the call was made to the U.S. Navy for assistance. Blue Ridge immediately sent its rescue and assistance team to assist.

Transporting fire fighting, de-watering, and de-smoking equipment across the harbor, the 15-man fire fighting team was able assist in controlling the fire by over hauling the affected areas and de-watering the ship, as the ship had begun to list, or tilt, because of combating the blaze from the outside with water.

“Some of the gear the crew was using on board was damaged, or degraded at [best],” said Senior Chief Damage Controlman (SW) Leif Lairson of Blue Ridge Rescue and Assistance Team. “So, a lot of our gear was in better shape and we were able to help the effort significantly.”

No injuries occurred during the six-hour operation.

Local authorities and crew members of the ship said they were thankful for the Blue Ridge’s quick response, assistance and professionalism.

“We had a little fire this morning on board the ship that went out of control,” said a senior member of the bridge crew aboard Manila Bay I. “The Navy came in and saved the day.”

“Damage control is what we do,” said Hull Technician 2nd Class (SW) Cade Brock, a member of Blue Ridge Rescue and Assistance Team. “These people needed our help today and I was proud to help them out.”

The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet command ship, Blue Ridge arrived in Cebu, Philippines for a scheduled port visit Feb. 11. While in port, the ship’s approximately 1,000 crew and embarked U.S. 7th Fleet staff members and embarked Marines and Seabees have been participating in friendship-building and goodwill generating activities such as community service projects, musical performances, ship tours, and other cultural exchanges.

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