Nine firefighters responding to a fire aboard a ship in Florida have been hospitalized after the ship exploded, authorities said. The explosion occurred nearly three hours after firefighters first responded to a ship at Blount Island after reports of a fire on Thursday afternoon, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department tweeted. The ship, a Norwegian-flagged vessel called Hoegh Xiamen, was carrying old and used cars and had been scheduled to leave Jacksonville, First Coast News reported. More than 20 crew members on the ship during the initial fire were able to safely get off before the explosion occurred, according to the US Coast Guard.
Jacksonville Fire Chief Keith Powers says.the blast happened with "crews inside fighting fire," the AP reports. Of the nine firefighters hospitalized, four were treated for burns, one was taken into surgery for injuries Thursday night, and another firefighter is in intensive care. Nearly 150 firefighters are continuing to rotate in teams to battle the blaze aboard the ship, Powers says. "This is one of the days where you roll up on something like this and it’s one of the worst things probably in a career that you will ever do,” Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters President Randy Wyse tells the Florida Times-Union. Wyse says the injured firefighters have "a long recovery ahead of them.”
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