Eight Jacksonville, Fla., firefighters were injured last night when an explosion occurred as they were battling a fire on board the Höegh Autoliners car carrier Höegh Xiamen at the Port of Jacksoville’s Blount Island Terminal. A ninth firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.
WJXT News4Jax reports Fire Chief Keith Powers as saying in a 10.15 news briefing that the eight firefighters hurt in the blast were in stable condition.
Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville watchstanders were notified of the fire at 3:53 p.m. yesterday and immediately notified Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, issued an urgent marine information broadcast and directed the launch of a Coast Guard Station Mayport 45-foot Response Boat—Medium crew.
WJXT News4Jax quotes Chief Powers as saying that the fire started on the seventh deck of the ship which was loaded with automobiles and that the explosion occurred at about 6.45 p.m. The broadcaster quotes Coast Guard Captain Mark Vlaun as saying that a Resolve Marine response team was being brought in to put an oil boom around the vessel to contain the threat of any pollution
Höegh Autoliners has issued the following statement:
Höegh Autoliners confirms that at approximately 1600 local time a fire broke out aboard the vessel Höegh Xiamen on her seventh deck shortly after it completed loading operations at Blount Island, Jacksonville, USA.
Höegh Autoliners would like to thank the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department who are in attendance at the scene, and currently working to contain the fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with those firefighters and their families who were injured during this response.
There are no injuries to any of the 21 crew members, who have all been evacuated from the vessel. There are no reports of any pollution. A safety zone has been established around the vessel as a precautionary measure.
Höegh Autoliners has activated its emergency response team and is working closely with all necessary authorities to contain the incident. Our priorities at this time are to secure the vessel and ensure the preservation of the local environment.
There is no further information at this time however, we will provide updates as they become available.