Firefighters extinguished a 14-hour fire aboard a French nuclear-powered submarine Saturday afternoon after a battle that mobilized nearly 250 emergency responders.
At about 10:35 a.m. Friday, the fire broke out in the front zone of the SNA Perle nuclear attack submarine undergoing maintenance the naval base in Toulon, France. Eventually the fire would involve responders from the naval base, the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service (SDIS) of Var, the Battalion of the Marseille firefighter and crews from other submarines.
A press release issued by the French Ministry of Defense states that all nuclear fuel had been withdrawn from the sub as part of the maintenance scheduled.
“There were no weapons, (missiles, torpedoes, ammunition), nor batteries on board,” the press release states.
The Perle, a 27-year-veteran of the French Navy, has been undergoing maintenance work at Toulon since January.
Firefighters flooded the submarine’s aft compartment with firefighting foam, protecting the vessel’s reactor chamber. However, the nose of the sub was reduced to scorched structural steel.
The Perle, launched in September 1990, was one of the first generation nuclear submarines of the French Navy