The US Navy on Thursday charged one of its sailors with causing a massive fire that destroyed a military ship in July 2020 in San Diego, California, injuring about 20 people.
Third Fleet spokesman Sean Robertson said in a statement that the sailor, who was part of the crew of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, was “accused of setting fire.” gesture.
According to the Military Justice Law, he was charged on Thursday. The commander of the Third Fleet, Vice Admiral Steve Koehler, who is considering court martial, commissioned an independent military judge to decide at a preliminary hearing whether he should be formally indicted.
Commander Robertson said: “The evidence collected during the investigation is sufficient to order a preliminary hearing in accordance with the Code of Military Justice.”
The USS Bonhomme Richard docked at Naval Base San Diego, its home port, for maintenance when the fire broke out on July 12, 2020.
On board the ship were about 160 sailors. The Navy stated that 17 sailors and four civilians sustained minor injuries and were taken to hospital.
Several firefighters also suffered burns and smoke inhalation.
It burned for four days before firefighters were able to put out the flames. The US Navy had planned for some time to repair it, but the damage was such that it was canceled in early 2021.
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