What fire aboard USS Okinawa LPH-3 in Jan 1976? We were in Long Beach, CA in dry docks thru May '76. Firecracker HT2 "maddog" Smith. Want real facts? The Fire in Aug/Sept 1976, in port San Diego is the same fire mentioned in several posts taking place in Jan '76 while the Oki was in Dry Docks from Oct '75 thru May '76. I came in from liberty approx 2230. I saw a haze in the passageway on the second deck in front of Supply berthing/ shower area which turned out to be smoke. I reported the fire to the Quarter Deck, cleared the area of supply personnel and set the fire boundries. By the time the duty fire party arrived the fire - 400 new mattresses for the Marine Berthing, in cardboard boxes locked in an expanded metal locker flashed & became fully engulfed.
I, HT2 Smith assumed the scene leader from an HTFN. We fought the fire until it got out of control. My request for assistance from the Base fire Dept or Surrounding Ships was denied. I was told to will handle it. Ht's coming back from liberty were held at the head of the pier. Around midnight thirty the base fire dept showed up to assist. They cleared all Navy Personnel except me out of the fire area. As we moved toward the fire the Ship's Captain made repeated calls for me to come to the hanger deck. I left the scene & reported to the Captain. After relaying what was going on with the fire, I heard of a sailor trapped below deck in a smoked filled compartment. Myself & an ICman found the man and brought him up 30' of ladder to the hanger deck. He was a BT1 wearing a Mark 5 gas mask which was not meant for smoke filled conditions. I was told he died twice on the way to the hospital. He was revived and made the cruise in Sept '76. There were no bodies stacked like cord wood & No assistance was rendered from other ships. The ship's crew dewatered & desmoked the ship and over hauled the fire. There are 5ea 3" black binders concerning this fire with pictures & NIS reports. I worked in the DCA office and have reviewed some of the material.
As for the multiple fires during the '76 - '77 cruise - they actually happened. Fellow Firecrackers - do you remember the "T" shirts we had made in the PI? "You light 'em We fight 'em because of the many fires. We never found the guilty party. No one died, no one was burned & no one suffered smoke inhalation. The Firecracker Team was called away for the first reported fire & the ship went to GQ on the second one. I was working DC Central communications for the Firecracker Team. There was a fire in the bilges in the fireroom but was put out with no deaths, burns or smoke inhalation.