At least 120 JFRD personnel brought in to battle fire, chief says
A massive fire is still burning aboard a cargo ship at Blount Island while several injured firefighters were reported to be in stable condition. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said 9 firefighters were injured trying to contain the blaze.
According to Fire Chief Keith Powers, eight firefighters were injured in an explosion, and an additional firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.
“It’s a tough situation and very dangerous — that’s one of the most dangerous situations firefighters encounter is when they’re in a ship fire,” Powers said.
This morning more firefighters were seen arriving to help, including some with maritime expertise. Crews are spraying the ship with water, not to try to extinguish the flames, but to keep the ship’s exterior cool.
An oil response team is also on the way to the docked ship. To protect the environment, the team plans to put an oil boom in the river. There is already a 500-yard safety zone established around the ship.
Crews with the U.S. Coast Guard were seen in the river late Thursday night spraying the ship with water along the exterior of the hull.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry asked for prayers from the local community on social media and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office shared well wishes for firefighters, calling them brothers and sisters.
According to Powers, the fire started on the seventh deck of the ship. Approximately 120 JFRD personnel were sent to battle the initial fire. The ship was loaded with automobiles.