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US Navy charges sailor with setting fire that destroyed USS Bonhomme Richard last July

  • July 30, 2021

burst into flames on July 12, 2020, and smoldered for more than four days off San Diego. More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

The ship was decommissioned in November 2020 after an assessment determined repairs to the ship would cost $3 billion and take five to seven years.

Evidence collected in the following investigation was enough to accuse the sailor, who has not been named, of starting the fire, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesperson, said in a statement. The sailor was a crew member at the time and has been charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel. 

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The fire started in the ship’s lower storage area, where cardboard boxes, rags and other maintenance supplies were stored, but winds quickly swept fire throughout the vessel.

Contributing: Jessica Flores and Tom Vandenbrook, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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