On October 7, 2022 at 9:05 p.m. Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) responded to a major shipboard fire onboard the Spanish Frigate Santa Maria (F81).
At 9:11 p.m., engine 2 arrives on scene and reports heavy smoke from the exterior and ship’s forces request assistance with resupply operations.
At 9:17 p.m., ladder 1 arrives on scene and is directed to cool down the top deck of the ship with the aerial master stream.
On scene, Christopher Cruz, assistant chief of operations, receives notification that there are people trapped on the front of the ship including children who were unable to escape from the massive amount of smoke. Seeing the danger, ladder 1 moves to begin rescue operations. Extending the ladder from the pier to the nose of the ship, NAVSTA Rota firefighters were able to rescue 24 people and get them to the medical triage area.
NAVSTA Rota Fire Chief Shane Rayfield described the scene as “smoke everywhere” and “unbelievable.” However, he emphasized that his team was prepared for challenges like this because of their training.
“At that point everyone knew their roles due to our extensive training and our main focus was to get everyone off safely then support the ship’s crew and save the ship,” he said.
With everyone off safely, ship’s forces then requested assistance fighting the interior fire. Hose lines were advanced from ladder 1 and Rota F&ES worked with the ship’s crew to attack the fire. Luckily, at the time of the fire the two hangars were not occupied by any helicopters. The firefighting crews quickly extinguished the remaining fire and started overhaul procedures. At approximately 11:45 p.m., Rota F&ES ended their response.
The fire’s damages were contained to three compartments and extinguished, limiting further damage. Considering all the challenges with a joint international response this was a very successful outcome.
Fast forward a few months and the Santa Maria is back in service and ready for deployment. Cmdr. Alfonso Moreno Cividanes, capitan de fragata, thanked Chief Rayfield for his personnel’s fast response and hard work during an award ceremony aboard the Santa Maria, Nov. 4, 2022.
During the ceremony, Rayfield and Moreno Cividanes began talks to continue training together. Prior to this fire, there was no history of a joint response for a major shipboard fire on a U.S. or Spanish vessel at NAVSTA Rota. Additionally, no joint shipboard firefighting training has been conducted between the two agencies.
“We do training all the time with the Spanish Bomberos on the flight line,” said Rayfield. “Hopefully moving forward we can schedule something with the ships and get our guys some more experience and figure out how we can operate together better.”
Though this was a successful outcome NAVSTA Rota F&ES will continue to reach out and find opportunities to strengthen the relationship with the Spanish Navy and in hopes lead to more joint training, sharing of information, familiarization of Spanish vessels and more effective responses in the future.
|Date Posted:||12.09.2022 04:43|
This work, Rota Fire & Emergency Services Receive Award for Assistance with Shipboard Fire, by PO2 Hutch Johnson, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.