ARLINGTON, Va. — Sailors spent hours on Thursday battling a fire that broke out on the USS George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a Navy spokesman said.

No serious injuries were reported in connection with the blaze, but one sailor was treated for first-degree burns and 23 sailors were treated for stress, said Cmdr. Jeff Davis.

Davis said he did not know if the damage from the fire would delay the George Washington’s expected arrival in Japan this August to replace the USS Kitty Hawk as the Navy’s forward-deployed carrier in the western Pacific.

"An investigation into the cause and full assessment of damage caused by the fire is ongoing," he said in an e-mail on Friday.

Right now, the George Washington is in the eastern Pacific off South America headed to San Diego, Navy officials said.

The fire was detected about 7:50 a.m. Thursday near the aft air conditioning and refrigeration space and auxiliary boiler room while the George Washington was giving fuel to another ship, USS Crommelin, officials said.

"The fire spread to several spaces via a cableway and caused extreme heat in some of the ship spaces, but it was contained and extinguished by the crew without any serious injuries to personnel," Davis said.

Sailors extinguished the blaze after several hours, and the ship’s crew was at general quarters for about 12 hours, he said.

"The ship’s propulsion plant was not damaged and there were no reactor safety issues as a result of the fire," Davis said. "The ship has full propulsion capability."

The George Washington will ultimately be based out of Yokosuka, Japan, where about 38,000 residents signed a petition against having a nuclear-powered carrier there in an effort to have a referendum on the issue.

Yokosuka’s city council voted against having such a referendum in February 2007.

To allay resident’s concerns, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs distributed more than 30,000 pamphlets in November 2006 about how safe nuclear-powered ships are.

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