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Cruise ship in Virginia still burning after catching fire Tuesday

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Spirit of Norfolk fire (June 7)
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Posted at 9:45 AM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 13:24:07-04

NORFOLK, Va. — Firefighters with Norfolk Fire-Rescue are still working to put out a fire that broke out on the Spirit of Norfolk on Tuesday afternoon.

The cruise ship was taken to Naval Station Norfolk. According to the fire chief, the fire was on the naval base on the Elizabeth River.

A fire was reported around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday on the ship outside of the port security barrier.

Passengers that were on the ship were offloaded. The Victory Rover rescued approximately 110 personnel and passengers.

The fire was still burning as of 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.

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No injuries were reported.

The Spirit of Norfolk's last inspection was in May. According to a spokesperson with the Coast Guard, the ship passed its inspection. It was also reportedly on dry dock for the entire month of March, where it went through multiple inspections.

Two elementary school classes - a kindergarten class and a fifth-grade class - were on the ship. News 3 in Norfolk spoke with a class chaperone about the scary situation.

“I noticed that there was a weird distinct smell - like an electrical fire-type smell. [I] thought it was a little odd but didn’t think much of it, we’re out on the water; there’s Navy ships around, and then [we] started seeing a little bit of smoke. [It] got thicker and thicker, and then it was dark black smoke billowing out, then I look over the same of the deck and there’s just flames pouring out of the side of the boat," said Jason Sleeth, who was on the ship with his fifth-grade class from Newport News.

A representative with the U.S. Coast Guard says they're working on keeping any pollution contained, as there were 5,300 gallons of diesel on board.

Officials with Naval Station Norfolk also provided a statement after Tuesday's fire. When asked why the base and other entities responded to a civilian vessel, Naval Station Norfolk Commanding Officer Captain David Dees said, "To us, it is not just a civilian ship. It was a vessel in need; and it had 106 passengers that needed help. And that's exactly what we all did today as a team."

A viewer sent News 3 this video of the fire still raging:

Spirit of Norfolk still on fire

Video courtesy of @RhodiePlays/Twitter

This story was first reported by WTKR in Norfolk, Va.