US Navy disciplines officers for massive fire

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Navy leaders have disciplined more than 20 senior officers and sailors in connection with widespread leadership and other failures that contributed to the July 2020 arson fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard. The ship was undergoing a two-year, $250 million upgrade pierside in San Diego when the fire broke out. About 115 sailors were on board, and nearly 60 were treated for heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation and minor injuries. A Navy report last year concluded that the massive five-day blaze was preventable and unacceptable, and that there were lapses in training, coordination, communications, fire preparedness, equipmentment maintenance and overall command and control. And, while one sailor — Seaman Apprentice Ryan Mays — has been charged with setting the fire, the report found that failings by about three dozen officers and sailors either directly led to the ship’s loss or contributed to it. More broadly, the crew was slammed for “a pattern of failed drills, minimal crew participation, an absence of basic knowledge on firefighting” and an inability to coordinate with civilian firefighters.

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