SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The U.S. Navy on Wednesday officially released its findings from the investigation into the July 2020 fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard warship at Naval Base San Diego.
One of two reports that the Navy made public focused on the investigation and highlighted the various factors that ultimately led to the destruction of the ship.
The other report, Navy officials said, was “a Major Fires Review commissioned by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations that examined all major fires in the Navy over the last 12 years.”
Investigators concluded that the ship’s crew and command failed to handle the fire properly after the blaze erupted aboard the ship on July 12, 2020.
During a Wednesday morning conference call to discuss the report, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Lescher said, “This was a comprehensive review with about 15 supporting organizations, 250 experts, 38 site unit surveys, and 14 locations worldwide covering all our ship plans.”
He added, “Overall, this command investigation concluded that the loss of the ship was completely preventable, and this is unacceptable.”
Some of the key conclusions from the 434-page investigative report:
- the material condition of the ship was left unnecessarily vulnerable
- the training of the crew was deemed to be deficient, and they were “unprepared to respond”
- there was an “absence of effective oversight”
The firefighting effort lasted four days, with more than 60 people -- including sailors and firefighters -- treated for various injuries.
Twenty-year-old sailor Ryan Mays faces charges of aggravated arson and willfully hazarding a vessel in connection with the fire.
The investigative report identified 36 people who could face potential disciplinary action over the ship fire. Those individuals are currently not being investigated for criminal negligence, and Navy officials did not elaborate further.
- Accused sailor's attorney speaks out after documents reveal possible sabotage in warship fire
- Unsealed search warrant suggests sabotage, evidence tampering
- Navy confirms arson investigation into USS Bonhomme Richard fire
- USS Bonhomme Richard, destroyed by fire at Naval Base San Diego, to be decommissioned
- USS Bonhomme Richard warship fire hero shares his story
- Sources: Sailor under investigation for arson in USS Bonhomme Richard ship fire
- Arson expert: Investigation of USS Bonhomme Richard fire may take more than a year
- Regulators say smoke from ship fire not a health risk
- Navy Admiral meets, thanks sailors who put out ship fire
- Navy ship fire causing air quality problems in San Diego
- Two sailors who battled ship fire test positive for coronavirus
- Navy officials say all known fires aboard USS Bonhomme Richard are out
- PHOTOS: Fire erupts aboard Navy ship