Fire aboard Midway carrier museum in San Diego caused by welder's spark

A fire early Wednesday aboard the aircraft carrier museum Midway drew a three-alarm response from local fire departments.

The fire, which officials said was apparently caused by a spark from a welder's torch, was reported about 5 a.m. as workers were converting a space below decks to accommodate an expansion of the museum's overnight program for students.

"We're OK," museum officials announced on Twitter. "Tx u to San Diego Fire Department for the incredible response this morning. Everyone is fine."

Firefighters from several departments responded to the blaze. Officials said the departments train aboard the Midway to learn how to deal with the intricacies of fighting a fire aboard a ship.

Approximately 100 firefighters from the San Diego, Coronado and Chula Vista departments, and San Diego Harbor Patrol, responded, although most were staged in the parking lot if needed. The sparks had “traveled” into small areas of the ship and it took firefighters nearly two hours to find the origin.

No one was injured in the fire, officials said, and no students were aboard the ship. The museum hosts more than 5,000 students a year in overnight programs; more than 40,000 students visit the Midway annually for trips focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Midway opened as a museum docked on the San Diego waterfront in 2004 and attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. The aircraft carrier served on active duty from the end of World War II until 1992.

On Wednesday, the museum is set to open at 10 a.m., half an hour later than normal to provide time for fire departments to reposition their equipment from the parking lot nearby.

For more San Diego news, follow @LATsandiego.

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