Authorities are probing what caused a fire main to rupture on board the amphibious assault ship Essex earlier this month, flooding a storeroom.

The Dec. 3 mishap happened when the ship was underway near its San Diego homeport, according to Navy officials.

Sailors discovered the flooding, secured the main and dewatered the space, Naval Surfaces Forces spokesman Cmdr. Patrick Evans said.

Citing the ongoing investigation into the cause of the incident and the extent of the damage, Evans declined additional comment.

The mishap didn’t affect the warship’s ability to continue on its present mission, according to command spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Kreuzberger.

The Navy has categorized the incident as a “Class A” mishap, which involves damages totaling at least $2.5 million.

It happened a day after the Essex returned to sea following eight months of maintenance, according to the command’s official Facebook page.

The Essex incident is at least the second Class A afloat mishap since the federal fiscal year began on Oct. 1.

Eleven sailors sustained what Navy officials said were minor injuries last month after a blaze broke out on board the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima at Naval Station Mayport in Florida.

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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