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6 injured as fire still burns aboard nuclear-powered USS Miami

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posted on May, 23 2012 @ 11:45 PM
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"The shipyard says the sub's reactor wasn't operating at the time of Wednesday evening's fire and wasn't affected."

That is pandering to the public! You can't 'turn off' a reactor. We should have learnt that by now.

This fire should have been out a lot quicker than it has been. I would suggest that major work is underway. All you have to do in a fire type SHTF scenario in a sub is to close all the hatches and wait for the O2 to run out. Why that has not happened yet is interesting. Even if the hull was open, a tarp covering the opening would be enough.

I am certainly not an expert but this is a sub!

P




posted on May, 23 2012 @ 11:49 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 

I find it hard to imagine how a four-alarm fire burning that long on a submarine would be considered "moderate". If it were contained, I would expect them to say it's "under control".

Which leads me to wonder just what's burning. There are very few things on a submarine that don't produce toxic smoke when burned, and based on the picture in the article, something's kicking out smoke quite profusely. I see they raised the injured to six, and I'm not liking that trend.

My biggest concern when considering a fire burning this long on a submarine that is not described as "contained" is that it will spread to something we wouldn't want to have fire spread to.

Base Commander Capt. Bryant Fuller claims the fire is "located mainly in the USS Miami's living areas and in control spaces", which I suppose is reassuring, but "mainly" doesn't mean "entirely", and even a little bit of fire in some of the places I mentioned above can mean big, big trouble.

Even with weapons offloaded, there are still many, many things that can go "boom" in a submarine. Things like fuel tanks, oxygen tanks, hydraulic systems (under certain conditions) and so on. Sealed spaces that are heated can also become overpressurized and rupture. Stuff like that.

I don't mean to sound like an incurable pessimist, and very much hope for the best, but what I've seen so far doesn't look encouraging, and whenever something spectacular enough to involve the news media happens to a submarine, that's never good.

I pray things don't get worse, and that no one suffers serious, fatal or crippling, long-lasting injuries from this.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 12:37 AM
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Originally posted by pheonix358
This fire should have been out a lot quicker than it has been. I would suggest that major work is underway. All you have to do in a fire type SHTF scenario in a sub is to close all the hatches and wait for the O2 to run out. Why that has not happened yet is interesting. Even if the hull was open, a tarp covering the opening would be enough.

I am certainly not an expert but this is a sub!


No need to state you're not an expert, you reply says it all.


Yeah, just shut the hatches. That'll do the trick. Meanwhile, on board the sub, the fire is burning its way thru everything it can until the air finally runs out.

Like the tarp idea, tho. Ever throw a tarp, etc, over a burning trash can? Give it a try and get back to us.

How about just open the hatches and submerge the damn thing. That ought to do the trick, right?



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 12:57 AM
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reply to post by Majic
 

As far as sources for the sustained fire, I can only imagine interior materials such as wiring, insulation, rubber and plastic and as you mentioned, the hydraulics, all of which could be toxic. Perhaps some type of fuel is burning too.

Pardon my ignorance, but could sea water be used at all for the fire, as in worse case scenario, flood the sub with water, without sinking it?

I share your sentiment as well and hope they are able to get control of this and be spared serious harm, locally or abroad.

A pic for some perspective on the size:

11:45 PM


"While the fire is not out, the situation is improving," he said at 11:45 p.m. Eastern time. "Due to the heat created by the fire, steam continues to emit from the ship from the firefighting efforts."

The fire started in a forward part of the ship away from the reactor, affecting "primarily living areas and command and control spaces," Fuller said.

The USS Miami is capable of carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles and Mark 48 torpedoes, but no weapons were on board, said Navy spokesman Lt. Myers Vasquez.

Guess we dodged a Tomahawk on this at least

www.cnn.com...
edit on 24-5-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 01:36 AM
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Originally posted by jerico65

Originally posted by pheonix358
This fire should have been out a lot quicker than it has been. I would suggest that major work is underway. All you have to do in a fire type SHTF scenario in a sub is to close all the hatches and wait for the O2 to run out. Why that has not happened yet is interesting. Even if the hull was open, a tarp covering the opening would be enough.

I am certainly not an expert but this is a sub!


No need to state you're not an expert, you reply says it all.


Yeah, just shut the hatches. That'll do the trick. Meanwhile, on board the sub, the fire is burning its way thru everything it can until the air finally runs out.

Like the tarp idea, tho. Ever throw a tarp, etc, over a burning trash can? Give it a try and get back to us.

How about just open the hatches and submerge the damn thing. That ought to do the trick, right?


At least I am not a dumb ass.

The tarp needs to be kept wet. That is how you put out a fire in a pot on the stove. Wet the tea towel, trow it over the pot, smothers fire.

The fire has been burning for what 6 hours. There is not that much air in a sub. I am not an expert but you sir are an offensive little drip under pressure!

P



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 01:43 AM
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Originally posted by Majic
reply to post by alfa1
 

That's the thing about 688-class boats: you have all of two compartments, versus four for earlier designs. So if there's a fire in the forward compartment, the entire compartment is probably full of smoke, making life uncomfortable for anyone within (they are trained to and will be wearing Emergency Air Breathing masks that are stored all over the boat for such emergencies), and putting all sorts of nasty, hazardous materials within reach.

The forward compartment also includes the torpedo room, which can normally mean big trouble, but in dry dock all the weapons should be absent. The diesel room can also be a bad place for fires and, ironically, even empty sanitary tanks can be dangerous due to methane accumulation combined with "papier-mâché" on inner surfaces.

But probably the worst possible scenario would be a fire in the battery room, which can lead to a powerful hydrogen explosion. Fire spreading to the battery is a very dangerous possibility that the firefighters need to be prepared for.

Meanwhile, some poor guy in the back is on duty as the Shutdown Reactor Operator. He's responsible for the safety of the reactor while in port or dry dock, and though the reactor is shut down, it must be supplied with power to keep the main coolant pumps running and controls/instrumentation operational. This can't be an easy shift, to understate things.

Submarines in dry dock are subjected to a lot of heavy work, especially a lot of welding and grinding in a lot of cramped, hard-to-reach places where ventilation has to be carefully controlled, and combustible substances like solvents and paint fumes from one work area can inadvertently find their way into another, all of which can lead to problems like these.

Four reported injuries so far is bad enough, here's hoping no one is trapped inside and as yet undiscovered.




Edit to add: In dry dock, most of the crew will be on leave, off training somewhere, at home with their families or in the barracks. A skeleton crew remains on board to keep an eye on things while maintenance is conducted, and there is a duty rotation for them, but aside from duty days where they have to stay aboard, most of the crew is elsewhere and shouldn't have any trouble finding a place to sleep.



edit on 5/23/2012 by Majic because: (no reason given)


You must be an ex-bubble head...



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 01:44 AM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
 

This article in Defense Industry Daily has a helpful cutaway view of the 688-class that may be helpful in visualizing what's where aboard the Miami. Here's a copy of it, and be warned, it's big, but needs to be so the details can be read:



Without knowing the specifics of the fire and what is actually burning, it's not really possible to suggest an effective strategy for extinguishing it. Depending on the type of fire, using water may help, for example, or may actually make it worse. As for flooding the boat with seawater to fight the fire, there's a myriad of problems with doing something like that.

Among the worst would be "salting the battery" as it's called, in which seawater is introduced to the ship's battery, large lead-acid cells like a giant automotive battery. Such an event would create a catastrophic fire/explosion hazard and production of massive amounts of chlorine gas as a result of the seawater reacting with the battery's electrolyte. Battery explosions are one of the worst things that can happen to a submarine, and that's just one among many in a long list of worst things that can happen.

Another problem would be the potential spread of flammable oily liquids, which could actually make things worse. As an example, the galley's deep fat fryer may or may not have oil in it, which may or may not have caught on fire or be involved in the fire -- or heck, been the cause of the fire. I would expect it was secured and free of oil as part of dry dock prep, but who knows? Maybe they were working on it or the galley has been open during maintenance.

The same questions could apply to other substances such as diesel fuel, which is probably present since it is used as part of the reactor shielding system (diesel is actually a good absorber of gamma and neutron radiation). If the diesel fuel or storage systems are involved, that's a big, big problem that also threatens the reactor.

As for sealing the boat to starve the fire of oxygen, there are oxygen sources on board such as compressed air, oxygen, air purification and ventilation systems and, depending on what sort of maintenance is underway, potentially several breaches in the pressure hull that may not be practical to seal. Since the boat is in dry dock, it's hard to know what's functional and what's not, and the behavior of various systems can vary greatly depending on what is being done to them.

There's also the question of what sort of equipment has been brought on board for maintenance. Typical examples would include acetylene torch systems, cleaning solvents, paints, arc welders, grinders, pressure rigs, ventilation ducting, HVAC feeds, etc.

Meanwhile, any strategy that involves evacuating the boat and letting the fire burn unsupervised means not knowing its status, how it is spreading or what systems are involved. Doing so without extremely good reason would probably entail criminal negligence.

There are many systems aboard a submarine, even in dry dock, that can become extremely dangerous if left uncontrolled. In addition to that, losing the forward compartment puts the aft compartment, including the reactor plant, at direct risk. At a bare minimum, the reactor compartment MUST be defended at all costs, or things could really get ugly.

Alas, we know there's a fire, it's been rated four-alarms, it's been burning for hours, is apparently not fully under control yet, and it seems like a pretty bad situation. We can speculate about all sorts of things, and it's natural to want to, but we can't really know what firefighters are facing.

Fortunately, it's a pretty fair bet the responders on scene know what they're doing, and know more than we do about the situation.

It's great to hear they are making headway, and here's wishing them god-speed in getting things completely under control.




edit on 5/24/2012 by Majic because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 01:52 AM
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Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
reply to post by Majic
 

As far as sources for the sustained fire, I can only imagine interior materials such as wiring, insulation, rubber and plastic and as you mentioned, the hydraulics, all of which could be toxic. Perhaps some type of fuel is burning too.

Pardon my ignorance, but could sea water be used at all for the fire, as in worse case scenario, flood the sub with water, without sinking it?

I share your sentiment as well and hope they are able to get control of this and be spared serious harm, locally or abroad.

A pic for some perspective on the size:

11:45 PM


"While the fire is not out, the situation is improving," he said at 11:45 p.m. Eastern time. "Due to the heat created by the fire, steam continues to emit from the ship from the firefighting efforts."

The fire started in a forward part of the ship away from the reactor, affecting "primarily living areas and command and control spaces," Fuller said.

The USS Miami is capable of carrying Tomahawk cruise missiles and Mark 48 torpedoes, but no weapons were on board, said Navy spokesman Lt. Myers Vasquez.

Guess we dodged a Tomahawk on this at least

www.cnn.com...
edit on 24-5-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)


Sea water is the primary fire fighting agent if the sub is at sea but, when the sub is in dry dock it would have fresh water from the shipyard fire fighting supply. When I was in the ship yard all the fire fighting agents used within the submarine where temporary fire fighting stations fed from the fresh water feed of the ship yard. As the sub is brought out of dry dock the ships systems are brought back on line though, which includes a full watch compliment and all ships fire fighting systems.

The reactor on a submarine in dry dock also relies on the shipyard fresh water supply for secondary reactor water. The water supply for a reactor in cold standby is very minimal, as a reactor properly shielded has very minimal need for coolant.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 02:11 AM
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Multiple firefighters were reportedly injured while battling a fire aboard the USS Miami nuclear-powered attack submarine...


Too bad the Navy did not have these robots already for use...

"Navy's Robot Firefighter to Throw Extinguisher Grenades"
www.innovationnewsdaily.com...

There may have been less injured.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 02:56 AM
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reply to post by nerdyclutzyblonde
 


Nuclear Reactors aboard US Naval Vessels are the safest reactor design in the world. There has never once been an accident with a Nuclear reactor aboard a ship or sub, they are that safe. Far safer than any reactor operating in any nuclear plant in the world.

It was once proposed that all nuclear reactors should be based upon the design the navy uses but it was deemed too expensive. So the government once again sent for a dangerous reactor built by the lowest bidder.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 04:15 AM
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reply to post by Mandrakerealmz
 
lol.... that was not off topic but ok censor away :/

Its not like I was pointing out this scenario is identical to what happened to the Kursk in Russia... cough cough. Stolen nukes.
edit on 24-5-2012 by Mandrakerealmz because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 07:57 AM
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Apparently, the fire is out. :0) Let's hope it stays that way.

Here's a link saying it's out

Here's a link w/web cams if something should arise


Thanks for all the informative replies!!!

Gotta admit - I was a bit freaked last night. Anything with "nuke" & fire in the same sentence scares me!



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 08:56 AM
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The problem with fighting fires on a submarine vs a surface combatant are complicated by OX-GEN Canisters. In a surface ship you can close it off, keep the border spaces cool and it will normally consume the oxygen and extinguish itself depending on the type of space. Engine rooms and chemical storage usually have a carbon dioxide fire suppression system. Modern subs are built with components that have class D metals. They can burn in the absence of O2. Those materials are likely the reason it took so long to extinguish.

I have worked with nuclear subs (NR-1, SSGN Flordia, USS Texas) in the past, and have been to that shipyard. Their shipboard fire plan left a lot to be desired.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by pheonix358
"The shipyard says the sub's reactor wasn't operating at the time of Wednesday evening's fire and wasn't affected."

That is pandering to the public! You can't 'turn off' a reactor. We should have learnt that by now.

This fire should have been out a lot quicker than it has been. I would suggest that major work is underway. All you have to do in a fire type SHTF scenario in a sub is to close all the hatches and wait for the O2 to run out. Why that has not happened yet is interesting. Even if the hull was open, a tarp covering the opening would be enough.

I am certainly not an expert but this is a sub!

P


I agree whole heartedly with your last statement, except for the "but this is a sub!" part.

A reactor with it's control rods fully inserted is "turned off" and short of a containment breach by a large explosion is safe.

Your "close the hatches" to put the fire out won't work for one simple reason. A submarine has an emergency oxygen system that relies on chemical "candles" to generate oxygen. If a fire reaches these "candles" they will supply the oxygen needed for the fire to keep burning.

As far as the fire being a "four alarm", don't read too much into this. You have a fire in an enclosed compartment, with smoke and toxic gasses, so that breathing equipment must be worn to enter it, plus high temperatures, means that you use relays of fire fighters. You have a group activly fighting the fire, a group providing support and a group resting and replentishing their equipment. This requires more people than would normally be requied for say a house fire.

I've been there and done that, the fire I was involved in wasn't on a sub, it was an aircraft carrier. We had a bit more room, but, I wouldn't want to do it again.

SWCCFAN must have made his post while I was typing mine. I'll bow to a real expert.
edit on 24-5-2012 by JIMC5499 because: Added info



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 12:48 PM
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I did not know that you americans have a base named after ours . with also replicas of the towns names round ours in england . I new about all your other towns named after ours . But also you will be surprised that alot of americans do not even know that the names like say birmingham etc come from the uk..
Porstmouth i am from , with the rich history of vessels like HMS VICTORY , MARY ROSE, WARRIOR etc.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 01:51 PM
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reply to post by denver22
 


Why do you think we call that area New England? I've been to your town (1984 & 1987). Had some great times there.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499
reply to post by denver22
 


Why do you think we call that area New England? I've been to your town (1984 & 1987). Had some great times there.
sir you also hit the right time to go there as portsmouth was a cracking night out.
it is a close nit city a tough place we all stick toghether i know anyone who is anyone and there is about 400hundred pubs in a 4mile radias . Loads to do, portsmouth is now quiet as they have used all your weapons lol your police had and they used them here to tackle football hooligans etc.. obviously not guns lol..



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 02:03 PM
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reply to post by denver22
 


You obviously didn't read the original source. They are talking about Portsmouth in Maine, USA. Not Portsmouth in Hampshire, UK.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 02:05 PM
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Brave New World


Originally posted by denver22
I new about all your other towns named after ours .

Ha! Typical British propaganda. Everyone knows America named them first. In fact, that was the reason for the Revolutionary War in the first place: we got tired of you guys copying us all the time.

First it was the King naming himself after the colony, and later state, of Georgia. Okay, that's understandable, it's a cool name, everyone knows "George III" had his "issues", and we Americans are nothing if not modest, magnanimous and forgiving. No harm, no foul.

Then the Duke of "York" decided to name his duchy after New York. Okay, now it's starting to get a bit irritating. The colonists were all, "hey, how about making up your own names, eh?" And the Duke of York was all, "like, yeah, it's my name, take off, hosers," and because of that, tensions rose.

The final straw came when King "George" who, as we know, was perhaps a few bats short of a belfry, decided to name the entire country after New England.

We tried to be cool about it, but enough was enough. It was obvious by then that it was just a matter of time before King "George" was going to change his last name to "Washington", and there was simply no way we were going to let him do that to our first President before the United States was even founded!

So we drove the evil, name-copying "British" away, and despite a few setbacks like that "Birmingham" you mentioned, and the unfortunate decision to name a major "English" town after New London, Connecticut, the problem has slowly gotten better with time.

No, no, don't even bother trying to deny it. Thanks to the American public school system which, like all things American, is the best in the world, I know this is true and beyond dispute. After all, America is so awesome they named two continents after us.

Don't worry. I'm not upset. We're used to it by now. Heck, the Germans seem obsessed with naming their cities after American food like hamburgers. We even had to change the name of our All-American "frankfurters" to "hot dogs" because the Germans stole it (WWI in a nutshell).

And what could be more American than apple pie? Well don't ask the Dutch, let's just put it that way.

Don't even get me started about how everyone likes to steal words from us Americans, especially the "English", who even named themselves after our native language and have the audacity to go around misspelling the words and mispronouncing everything!

I can understand your confusion, seeing as you've no doubt been raised on "English" propaganda, but hopefully that sets the record straight. Now if you'll excuse me, I should probably go ban myself for being so off-topic.

Oh yeah, and it's great to hear the fire's out, or whatever that whole submarine dry dock business was about.



posted on May, 24 2012 @ 02:36 PM
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reply to post by Majic
 


Yeah and so called English Muffins were invented by Pilsbury!
edit on 24-5-2012 by abeverage because: (no reason given)



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