Blast On a Navy Cruiser Leaves Four Maintenence Workers Injured

An explosion in the hull of a Navy cruiser during routine maintenance left six workers injured Saturday, one of them critically with life-threatening burns, authorities said.

Subcontractors from the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. were working in the fuel tank of the USS Lake Champlain as it sat in dry dock when the explosion occurred just after noon for reasons not yet determined, said San Diego Fire Department spokesman Maurice Luque.

"Apparently it was caused by flammable gas that ignited," Luque said. "We don't know how or why."

Four of the workers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center.

One remained in critical condition with potentially fatal burns late Saturday, said Denise Thompson, a nursing supervisor at the hospital.

Another was in fair condition and two were in good condition, Thompson said.

Two other workers were treated at the scene of the explosion and
released, Luque said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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