The U.S. Navy said Thursday that it has charged a sailor with starting a fire last year that destroyed a warship docked off San Diego.
The USS Bonhomme Richard burned for more than four days last July and was the Navy’s worst warship fire outside of combat in recent memory.
The amphibious assault ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage that is believed to have cost the Navy billions of dollars.
It seems there was no choice but to scrap the ship.
The charged sailor was a member of the crew at the time, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman, said in a statement.
No name was released, and Robertson could not be immediately reached for comment.
No other details were provided, and it was unclear what evidence was found or what the motive was.
The amphibious assault ships are among the few in the U.S. fleet that can act as mini aircraft carriers.
The Bonhomme Richard had been nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire broke out on July 12, 2020.
About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot vessel.
The ship was docked at Naval Base San Diego.
The fire started in the ship’s lower storage area, where cardboard boxes, rags and other maintenance supplies were stored.
Winds coming off the San Diego Bay whipped up the flames, and they spread up the elevator shafts and exhaust stacks.
Then two explosions — one heard as far as 13 miles away — caused it to grow even bigger.
The fire sent acrid smoke billowing over San Diego, and officials recommended people avoid exercising outdoors.
Firefighters attacked the flames while firefighting vessels with water cannons directed streams of seawater into the ship and helicopters made water drops.
More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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