WASHINGTON — A fire broke out Thursday night in the amphibious assault ship Bougainville, which is still under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding, the company confirmed, with several shipyard employees being treated for smoke inhalation.
Ingalls Shipbuilding fire and safety personnel responded to a call for a fire in the Bougainville superstructure, or the portion that rises above the flight deck level.
“The fire was extinguished and two shipbuilders were transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation and were released later in the evening. Four other shipbuilders were treated for smoke inhalation onsite. No additional injuries have been reported,” Kimberly Aguillard, an Ingalls Shipbuilding spokeswoman, told Defense News. “Our shipbuilders responded immediately and within a short amount of time the fire was extinguished. A full review of the events, including a detailed timeline, is under development.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but initial findings indicate hot work was being performed nearby. Hot work can create sparks that can, as has been the case in previous shipboard fires, ignite flammable materials like rags, papers and oils.
Aguillard said the fire and smoke was contained to a small number of compartments.
“Initial indications are that damage is limited to the immediately impacted compartments and no damage to the remainder of the ship nor the shipyard was incurred,” she added.
Bougainville is the third America-class amphibious assault ship. Construction began in October 2018, and the ship is scheduled to launch from its land-based construction area into the water later this year. The ship was originally expected to deliver to the U.S. Navy in fiscal 2024, but service budget documents now show an October 2025 delivery date.
Ingalls Shipbuilding is a subsidiary of HII, which was ranked as the 17th largest defense company in the world in the Defense News Top 100, based on defense revenue.
Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.