JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some of the Jacksonville firefighters who were injured in an explosion that occurred while they were battling a fire aboard a cargo ship sustained significant injuries and have a long recovery period ahead, Fire Chief Keith Powers said Friday.
Eight firefighters were hospitalized in Thursday’s explosion on the ship docked at Blount Island, and a ninth was treated for heat exhaustion. When Powers spoke to News4Jax at noontime, he said three firefighters were being released from the hospital, and he said of the eight injured that some were severely burned.
“There’s four or five of them that have got some pretty significant injuries. They’re going to be out a long time,” Powers said.
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said all but two firefighters were expected to be released from the hospital Friday.
The fire chief noted that some of the firefighters had “significant” hand burns.
“Pray for those people and their families,” Powers said. “They’re going to be OK, just a long, long, long recovery.”
Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, pointed out that going into a ship that’s on fire is one of the most dangerous tasks a firefighter faces.
“I think we had great leadership out there that were able to get everybody out when they needed to," Wyse said. "You never want to walk away with injuries, but this could’ve been a whole lot worse if it hadn’t been for the leadership that we had out there.”
Messages of support have been pouring in for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the injured firefighters:
I have spoken with Jacksonville Mayor @lennycurry regarding the cargo ship explosion at Blount Island. While there are injuries, we are thankful no lives have been lost. @FLCaseyDeSantis and I are praying for the speedy recovery of the injured firefighters and their families.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 5, 2020
“It really helps when you have all that support," Wyse said.