A Navy sailor is under investigation for possible arson in connection with the fire that tore through the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego last month, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday.
The sources told the San Diego news station that search warrants have executed at the home of the sailor, whose name and rank were not disclosed.
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 caught fire while it was docked for maintenance.
The 41,000-ton Bonhomme Richard, which is a small aircraft carrier carrying helicopters and vertical-takeoff jets, sustained severe damage from the flames, leaving the ship listing to the starboard side, its aluminum superstructure collapsed and melted.
A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Navy and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 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.
Navy officials have said it remains to be seen whether the ship can be restored to fully operative status — or if it should, in light of the complications and expense the project would entail.
Updated at 9:05 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020
City News Service and Reuters contributed to this article.
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