All firefighters injured in cargo ship blast out of hospital
The fire chief says some firefighters will return for outpatient work; others have months of recovery ahead
The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville
All nine firefighters injured in last week's huge fire inside an almost 600-foot long auto hauler cargo ship at Blount Island are out of the hospital.
The Jacksonville Association of Firefighters has begun a fund-raising site at jaxfirefighters.dpmlocal.com/firefighter-family-support to help them in their recuperation at home.
One of the final two being treated came home Tuesday from the UF Health Shands Burn Center in Gainesville, followed by the last firefighter Wednesday afternoon, Chief Keith Powers said.
"They have to come back for outpatient work," Powers said. "... Probably two or three of them will come back in a couple of weeks. But we have some who have months and months of recovery."
The fire broke out about 4 p.m. June 4 after the M/V H'egh Xiamen completed loading operations, according to Hoegh Autoliners, the ship's owner. One firefighter was hospitalized due to heat exhaustion, then eight more were injured and burned when an explosion occurred inside the ship just before 7 p.m., fire officials said.
Since then, fire boats have been spraying the hull to cool it and prevent a rupture that could release fuel oil and other contaminants into the St. Johns River, and even cause the ship to sink, officials said. JaxPort reported that while the ship continues to burn, the fire is "controlled and contained" as of Tuesday.
Private marine firefighting contractors and the Coast Guard are continuing to work on fire management after thermal imaging recorded some hot spots close to 1,000 degrees earlier, Powers said.
"It still has some hot spots. It flared up in the middle of the night a little bit," Powers said Wednesday. "We are out there now in a support role. ... They have done some surveys on that hull and it is intact."
The Jacksonville Firefighter Family Support Fund was set up after fire officials reported it was being "overwhelmed with requests" to help the first responders. Almost 150 firefighters initially responded to the fire on the Norwegian vessel.
©2020 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Here is the video of the explosion that hurt 9 firefighters on June-06-2020. All but one of the firefighters have been released from the burn unit.Posted by Jacksonville Fire Station 1 "The Rock" on Sunday, June 7, 2020