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Navy probe finds major failures in fire that destroyed ship

Fire still burns on the second day after fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard, July 13, 2020.
Department of Defense
Fire still burns on the second day after fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard, July 13, 2020.

A Navy report has concluded there were sweeping failures by commanders, crew members and others that fueled the July 2020 arson fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard, calling the massive five-day blaze in San Diego preventable and unacceptable.

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While one sailor has been charged with setting the fire, the more than 400-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, lists three dozen officers and sailors whose failings either directly led to the ship's loss or contributed to it. The findings detailed widespread lapses in training, coordination, communication, fire preparedness, equipment maintenance and overall command and control.


“Although the fire was started by an act of arson, the ship was lost due to an inability to extinguish the fire,” the report said, concluding that “repeated failures” by an “inadequately prepared crew” delivered "an ineffective fire response."

It slammed commanders of the amphibious assault ship for poor oversight, and said the main firefighting foam system wasn't used because it hadn't been maintained properly and the crew didn't know how to use it.

More than a thousand people crowded the front steps of the California Capitol on Monday to protest the state’s requirement that all children get the coronavirus vaccine to attend public and private schools. In San Diego, protestors gathered at Balboa park. Meanwhile, enough people are vaccinated that experts are cautiously optimistic that there won’t be a huge surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths this winter. Plus, the results of a new survey says teenage military dependent’s mental health is suffering.