UPDATE: Fire at USS Drum contained, tourists not in danger

Mobile County

UPDATE 10:31 p.m.

Smoke coming out of the USS Drum caused quite a concern, but Director of Battleship Park, Janet Cobb, says the smoke was caused by maintenance. 

Cobb said it was scary at first, thinking of flames engulfing the national landmark. She said, “All of our hearts were racing when we heard that alarm.”

It was just as scary for the people inside the submarine. Tripp Thrash and his friend were visiting Battleship Park from Auburn and decided to tour the submarine. Thrash said, “Steam looking stuff coming out of it and they didn’t have it roped off, so we didn’t think anything of it. We went all the way through it and got to the bottom and there was some steam in there.”

Thrash took action not knowing what the smoke was. He said, “I didn’t want anything to harm me, so I just put a handkerchief over my nose and breathed through it.”

He and his friend, Ethan Smith, quickly got out. Smith said, “Once the fire alarms started going off, we decided to go ahead and head out, and then we saw the fire trucks rolling up and said this may not be a false alarm, this may actually be a fire.” 

Director Cobb explained the smoke. She said, “On the external part where the tanks are was doing some welding, and on the other side was another tank that had been sand-blasted. There was some paint residue in there and after he left we had some smoke.”

Cobb said there were no actual flames onboard and no damage to the submarine. She said the work being done on the pressure tanks ensures they stay in good condition, so the USS Drum will be around for more generations to enjoy. She added, the ship celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Mobile this Summer.

UPDATE 6:20 p.m. 

Sources tell News 5 the fire was contained to the lower ballast tank where someone was welding. They say it never really flamed up but smoldered and sent smoke into the tourist areas. They say the public was never in any danger.


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Fire-Rescue companies are on scene of a fire at Battleship Park.

Mobile Fire-Rescue says a fire is in the hull of a submarine at the Park.

Everyone had successfully evacuated the structure prior to MFRD arrival on scene.

Crews continue to battle smoke to extinguish the fire on scene.

An investigation is pending.


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