A fire aboard the USS George Washington aircraft carrier left one sailor with minor burns and 23 others with heat stress.

Sailors extinguished the fire several hours after flames were spotted Thursday near the auxiliary boiler room and air conditioning and refrigeration space in the rear of the nuclear powered ship. The Navy said the fire spread through a passageway for cables.

It also said the carrier's propulsion plant was not damaged and the fire did not threaten the safety of the ship's nuclear reactor. The Navy said it was investigating the cause of the fire and assessing damage to the ship.

Injured sailors were treated and have returned to duty, said Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces in San Diego.

The carrier was resupplying the USS Crommelin or being resupplied by the guided missile frigate when sailors noticed smoke.

The Norfolk, Va.-based ship was in the Pacific headed to San Diego when the fire broke out.