U.S. Navy Sailor Under Investigation for Arson in Bonhomme Richard Fire, Official Says

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August 27, 2020

Firefighting boats spray water onto the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard as smoke rises from a fire onboard the ship at Naval Base San Diego, as seen from Coronado, California, U.S. July 12, 2020. REUTERS/Bing Guan

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WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (Reuters) – A United States Navy sailor is under investigation for possible arson aboard a warship that caught fire last month and injured dozens of people, a U.S. defense official told Reuters on Wednesday.

More than 60 people, including about 40 sailors, were treated for minor injuries during the four days of firefighting from land, air and sea when the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard caught fire while it was docked in San Diego.

The Bonhomme Richard, whose size ranks second in the U.S. Navy fleet to that of an aircraft carrier, sustained severe damage from the flames, leaving the ship listing to the starboard side, its superstructure collapsed and melted.

The defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Navy and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) officials were investigating a sailor, who was being questioned.

No one has been charged or arrested so far, the official added.

The Navy declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.

“We have nothing to announce at this time,” a Navy statement said. (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Leslie Adler)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

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