A U.S. Navy sailor is under investigation in connection with the fire that damaged the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego, ABC 10News reported citing sources.
According to the report, multiple sources with close ties with the Navy’s Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has told the channel that the investigators determined the July 12 fire may have been set intentionally with a sailor as an arson suspect in their probe.
The report added that multiple search warrants were executed at the sailor’s home and property citing the sources. The sources didn’t disclose the sailor’s name and rank, according to the report.
The NCIS has also reportedly requested help from the National Response Team for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) because the agency provides resources and expertise on complex, large-scale incidents like the massive ship fire.
The massive four-day fire which broke abroad the Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on July 12 causing extensive damages to the billion dollar vessel. The vessel was undergoing pier-side maintenance at Naval Base San Diego when the incident occurred.
The fire was initially reported in the lower vehicle storage area of the ship. Approximately 160 Sailors were aboard the 840-foot vessel at the time of the incident (the vessel has a crew size of approximately 1000).
In total, 63 personnel, including 40 U.S. Navy Sailors and 23 civilians, were treated for minor injuries including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation from the fire.
It remains unclear if the damage caused by the fire will prevent the USS Bonhomme Richard from sailing again.