A U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesperson, Cmdr. Sean Robertson said in a statement that the sailor was a member of the USS Bonhomme Richard crew at the time. No name was released, and no other details were provided. It was unclear what evidence was found or what the motive was.
The USS Bonhomme Richard was a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship that burned for more than four days. This was one of the Navy’s worst warship fires outside of combat. As a result, the amphibious assault ship was left with significant mechanical, structural, and electrical damage. The event cost the Navy billions of dollars.
The amphibious assault ship neared the end of a two-year upgrade costing over $250 million, when the fire broke out on July 12, 2020.
A little over 160 sailors and officers were on board the USS Bonhomme Richard when the flames sent up a massive plume of smoke from the 840-foot vessel, which had been undergoing an upgrade at Naval Base San Diego.
The fire started in the lower storage area of the ship, where they stored cardboard boxes, rags, and other maintenance supplies. Winds coming off the San Diego Bay enlarged the flames, and the fire spread throughout the vessel.
Two explosions then happened; one heard as far as 13 miles away. This made the fire grow even more significantly.
Firefighters fought the flames on the inside, while firefighting vessels directed streams of seawater on the outside. Helicopters dropped tons of water on top of the ship.
Over 60 sailors and civilians received treatment for minor injuries, heat exhaustion, and smoke inhalation.
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