VIDEO: Arson is suspected as the cause of a July 12 fire that left extensive damage to the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard docked off San Diego, and a U.S. Navy sailor was being questioned as a potential suspect, a senior defense official said Wednesday. The sailor was being questioned as part of the investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the official said, adding that defense department leaders were notified of the development. The official, with knowledge of the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to provide details not yet made public. The sailor was not detained.
The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory.
The ship was left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage and its future remains uncertain.