Information Regarding Last Night’s Barge Fire Near NNS

Published October 5, 2022

Dear Shipbuilders,

Late last night, a contractor’s barge caught fire in the James River near Newport News Shipbuilding. Our NNS firefighters immediately responded to the incident, but were unable to reach the barge, which is located about 150 yards off shipyard property. Local and federal emergency response teams were contacted for additional assistance and crews were able to extinguish the fire around midnight.

The fire was limited to the barge and three employees of the contractor were on the barge when the fire broke out. We are very thankful that these individuals were able to safely and quickly evacuate themselves by boat, and no one – including emergency response personnel – was injured.

Safety is our number one priority here at NNS and fire safety is something that we train for regularly. I applaud our shipbuilders who took immediate action and followed emergency response protocols – as well as crews from the cities of Newport News, Suffolk and Hampton, and the U.S. Coast Guard, who responded to the situation and provided mutual aid. We are appropriately working with the contractor and authorities to determine the cause of the fire. Additional information will be provided as we come through lessons learned.

With October being National Fire Prevention Month, I encourage you to spend time here at work and at home to take precautionary steps that could prevent a fire. But most importantly, if you see something, please report it immediately. Our shipyard has more than 500 acres of waterfront and more than 25,000 employees – it takes all of us working together as a team to ensure the safety of each other and our shipyard.

Jennifer Boykin
Newport News Shipbuilding