The Navy released a scathing report about the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard

Asia's Tech News Daily

This story originally published on Task & Purpose.​

The Navy released a scathing report about the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard
© Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christina Ross/U.S. Navy The Navy sailor who set the 2020 fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard submarine will be going on trial next month.

The sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard had no idea what to do when a fire broke out aboard their vessel last year, an investigation into the catastrophic blaze found.

“Although the fire was started by an act of arson, the ship was lost due to an inability to extinguish the fire,” according to the investigation, which was written by Vice Adm. Scott Conn, then-commander of Third Fleet.

The Navy released a scathing report about the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard
© Provided by Popular Science The Navy released a scathing report about the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard

The ship caught fire on July 12, 2020 and burned for five days, spreading to 11 of the vessel’s 14 levels. Seaman Apprentice Ryan Sawyer Mays, a member of the ship’s crew, has been accused of starting the fire that destroyed the $2 billion warship. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 7, his attorney told Task & Purpose.

But the Navy’s investigation into the fire found that the Bonhomme Richard’s crew was ill-prepared and under-trained to contain the fire once it broke out. 

“Once the fire started, the response effort was placed in the hands of inadequately trained and drilled personnel from a disparate set of uncoordinated organizations that had not fully exercised together and were unfamiliar with basic issues to include the roles and responsibilities of the various responding entities,” reads the investigation.

The Navy released a scathing report about the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard
© Provided by Popular Science The Navy released a scathing report about the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard

However, the investigation makes clear that responsibility for the ineffective firefighting effort begins at the top.

“Ineffective oversight by the cognizant commanders across various organizations permitted their subordinates to take unmitigated risk in fire preparedness,” the investigation says. “A significant source of this problem was an absence of codification of the roles and responsibilities expected by each organization in their oversight execution.”

The investigation team members examine a solidified aluminum flow aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. Photo: U.S. Navy

On the morning of the fire, 87 percent of the Bonhomme Richard’s fire stations “​​remained in inactive equipment maintenance status,” the investigation found. This hampered the crew’s initial efforts to contain the blaze.

“Because the nearest shipboard fire stations had cut or missing hoses that were not corrected through routine maintenance checks, these teams were unsuccessful locating a serviceable fire station and hose and they did not adapt their strategy in light of these conditions,” the investigation found.

Moreover, no one attempted to use the Bonhomme Richard’s foam sprinkling system to extinguish the blaze because it had not been properly maintained and “in part because the crew lacked familiarity with capability and availability,” the investigation determined.

The crew was also not properly trained on how to use emergency breathing devices while evacuating the ship, leading to sailors suffering from smoke inhalation, according to the investigation Most of the ship’s sailors later said that they did not try to find emergency breathing devices during the fire because they were worried about getting trapped by the fire if they had looked for the emergency breathing devices.

The investigation also found that several sailors, including chief petty officers, decided not to don their firefighting gear because they thought they were wearing the wrong uniform at the time, according to the investigation. That stopped those sailors from joining the firehose teams that were trying to fight the fire.

“This lack of knowledge and preparation affected overall readiness and response, which contributed to the fire’s spread and inability to contain it,” the investigation found. 

The systemic problems with the ship’s firefighting efforts became apparent shortly after the blaze broke out in the ship’s lower vehicle stowage area around 8 a.m. on July 12. The fire eventually consumed the entire vessel after “all initial firefighting actions proved futile,” according to the Findings of Fact included in the Navy’s investigation into the fire. 

Roughly 10 minutes passed after smoke was seen rising from the lower vehicle storage area before it was reported. The investigation notes that these “precious early minutes were lost for various reasons,” from the fact that sailors were forced to use cell phones to communicate because they lacked radios, to the decision by the officer of the deck to order further investigation before taking decisive action, and because “there was a lack of urgency.” Communication was further hampered because the Bonhomme Richard’s 1 Main Circuit — essentially its PA system — did not work in many areas of the ship.

The officer of the deck at the time said he initially didn’t make an announcement about the fire because he thought the smoke could have been coming from an emergency generator or some other benign source, the investigation found. Other sailors told investigators that they thought they had to actually see the fire before declaring an emergency.

USA figure from the investigation depicts various decks and compartments aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. Courtesy of U.S. Navy

It was nearly an hour before the first firefighters were in a position to try to extinguish the fire with water, but they were running so low on air that they had to leave after a few minutes and no one replaced them, the investigation determined.

At 9:44 a.m. power to the ship’s aft section was switched off, likely because the command duty officer thought the blaze was an electrical fire, according to the investigation. As a result, the ship’s only remaining fire pumps were taken offline, leaving the vessel’s firemain and foam sprinkling system non-functional.

After more than two hours of firefighting efforts, during which time none of the ship’s installed firefighting systems were deployed, the order was given for all remaining firefighters to begin withdrawing. Less than five minutes after the last firefighter made their way off the Bonhomme Richard, a “major explosion rocked the ship, blowing debris across the pier and knocking down firefighters and sailors,” according to the investigation.

“Subsequent attempts to regain a foothold aboard relied on ad hoc strategies, delivering too little firefighting agent to combat the pace of the fire’s spread,” reads the investigation. “Throughout the first day of efforts, agent was never applied to the seat of the fire, and the opportunity to do so was lost once the fire spread beyond the perimeter of Lower V and across the entire ship.”

It would be several more days, with renewed firefighting attempts, before the blaze was finally put out on July 16, 2020. 

A separate review into major fires aboard Navy vessels found that the service has been focused on training sailors to extinguish blazes that happen when they are at sea and have a full crew along with all their leaders and equipment onboard, said Rear Adm. Paul Spedero Jr., head of Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, U.S. Transportation Command.

“Where we’ve missed the opportunity is those high-risk situations in the maintenance environment or in the pierside environment, where we have reduced manning and off-hours, or we have equipment that is unavailable due to maintenance, or equipment that has been moved to support other maintenance during these availabilities,” Spedero told reporters during a roundtable on Wednesday.

That’s why the review into major fires includes recommendations for how the Navy trains sailors to conduct damage control when their ships are undergoing maintenance, he said. Commanders have already required sailors to undergo a certification process before their vessels go through a maintenance period so that they understand the risks they will face and how to address them.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Oct. 20 with comments from Rear Adm. Paul Spedero Jr.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Should NZ's PhD researchers be working at below minimum wage?

They’re the workhorses and future of New Zealand’s research system – yet university PhD scholars are continuing to struggle on pay that’s well short of even minimum wage. Now there ... Read more »

MTG: 5 cards to slug it out using a Toxrill Commander deck

If you are looking for a legendary creature from Magic: The Gathering's recent Innistrad: Crimson Vow set to be the next Commander for your next Commander deck (yes, the deckbuilding ... Read more »

Buccaneers vs Colts live stream: how to watch NFL online from anywhere

Read more »

You can still save hundreds with these Black Friday mattress deals on Nectar, Tuft & Needle and more

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Black Friday 2021 might technically be behind us, but the sales ... Read more »

Cyber Monday Apple Watch live blog: the best Watch 7, SE and 3 deals we've seen

Refresh 2021-11-28T14:54:49.661Z First up, the Cyber Monday Apple Watch deals in the US and UK have been across the whole range of devices. We’ve seen offers on the oldest commonly ... Read more »

UK weather: Snow and ice warning in wake of Storm Arwen

A yellow warning for snow and ice remains in place until mid-morning on Sunday in Scotland and the north of England (PA) The Met Office has warned the UK may ... Read more »

These are the best Tory Burch Cyber Monday deals to shop

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. While Black Friday 2021 may technically be behind us, the sales ... Read more »

Disney+, Hulu and more—the best Cyber Monday 2021 streaming deals you can still get

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. There are plenty of great deals this year for Cyber Monday ... Read more »

Twitter could soon launch reactions and downvotes, hidden code suggests

Twitter could soon start offering a whole set of different ways to respond to tweets, based on hidden code spotted in the iOS version of the app – the long-rumored ... Read more »

Best Black Friday laptop deals 2021: Offers on Samsung, Dell, ASUS and more

(Black Friday) When it comes to bagging a serious bargain, there’s really no better time than Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The sales events are the biggest days in the ... Read more »

No, we can't believe how good this Apple Watch Cyber Monday deal is either

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by this year’s Cyber Monday Apple Watch deals, many of which have carried over from Black Friday just a few days earlier. Usually, you’d be hard ... Read more »

Hurry! Don't miss the best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deal of 2021

It looks like Dell has just dropped the best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deal for this year. This incredible Dell G15 is packing all the latest hardware, from an 11th ... Read more »

This backup power battery and solar panel set can power your home for up to a week when the lights go out

TLDR: This HomePower One Backup Battery Power Station and SolarPower One Portable Solar Panel set can supply up to a week of emergency power. And now, it’s hundreds off. Maybe ... Read more »

These 10 eLearning bundles could start your 2022 on a career-expanding note

TLDR: With 2022 fast approaching, these eLearning bundles can help you earn a new skill to boost your career, all at 70 percent off the regular price. The holiday season ... Read more »

Shop early Cyber Monday deals on Keurig coffee makers and K-Cups

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Good news for all the coffee enthusiasts this Cyber Monday weekend: ... Read more »

Cyber Monday AirPods deals 2021: all the sales live right now

Cyber Monday AirPods deals can save you plenty of cash on everything from the very latest releases to old faithfuls this weekend, now that Black Friday AirPods deals have drawn ... Read more »

Lost smartphone? Here's what to do: Talking Tech podcast

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below.This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. ... Read more »

Why Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are still casting a spell over us 20 years on

There must have been magic in the air. In November and December 2001, two fantasy movies cast a spell so powerful they changed Hollywood forever. Both were based on an ... Read more »

GoPro Cyber Monday deals 2021: all of the best offers available now

Cyber Monday GoPro deals 2021: Jump to… (Image credit: GoPro) US Best GoPro Cyber Monday deals UK Best GoPro Cyber Monday deals The Cyber Monday GoPro deals have just taken ... Read more »

Cyber Monday Fitbit, Garmin and smartwatch live blog

Refresh 2021-11-28T13:53:46.093Z (Image credit: Garmin) Here’s a few of the Garmin deals we’ve seen already, across an impressive range of the brand’s smartwatches. Most of these are generous and will ... Read more »

Chelsea vs Man United live stream: how to watch Premier League from anywhere

Having given caretaker boss the response he was hoping for in his first game at the helm of Man United in midweek, Michael Carrick will be hoping his players can ... Read more »

Realme GT 2 Pro India launch to take place in Q1 2022: Report

Rumours about the Realme GT 2 Pro are getting stronger as every day passes. The Realme GT 2 Pro is expected to be the company’s first flagship smartphone to use ... Read more »

Kate Spade Black Friday isn't over yet—save big at the Surprise Sale during Cyber Monday

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. If you’re still hunting for a beautiful new bag to add ... Read more »

Cyber Monday iPad live blog: the best Apple tablet deals right now

Refresh 2021-11-28T13:01:45.493Z (Image credit: Apple) If you’re going to buy that iPad Pro deal, then you should be thinking about getting an Apple Pencil as well – it’s going to ... Read more »

Keira Knightley reveals feeling split over return to work after family time in pandemic

Keira Knightley has admitted being torn over returning to work after full-time motherhood during the pandemic. (Getty Images) Just like so many other mothers, the pandemic has had an impact ... Read more »

Cyber Monday appliance live blog: Instant Pot, Ninja and KitchenAid deals

Refresh 2021-11-28T12:34:34.690Z Morning deal hunters! It’s executive editor Gerald Lynch here – I’ve pulled my apron on, put some flour underneath my laptop and have cracked some eggs for some ... Read more »

The iRobot j7+ is at the lowest price we've ever seen for Cyber Monday 2021

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. If you need to do some post-Thanksgiving cleanup around the house, ... Read more »

COVID-19: Emergence of Omicron variant could be down to 'reservoirs' of virus in the unvaccinated and immunosuppressed

Barry Schoub, an expert from South Africa, says it is "logical" that the prevalence of HIV in the region is linked to the emergence of the new variant of the coronavirus. Speaking to Sky News, Prof Schoub also emphasises the links to unvaccinated people. Read more »

Man City vs West Ham live stream: how to watch Premier League from anywhere

Showing some of their best form since Pep Guardiola took on the Etihad hot seat, Man City face a stern test of their title credentials today as they face David ... Read more »

Infinix Zero 5G is slated to debut as the company's first 5G smartphone

The Infinix Zero 5G is rumoured to be in the works. Infinix has ramped up its smartphone launches this year, but the company has stuck to 4G devices until now. ... Read more »

Best Black Friday OLED TV deals for LG, Sony, Vizio, 48, 55, 65, 77-inch TVs in 2021

You can make big savings on some of the best OLED TVs around right now as 2021 TVs push down the price of previous generation models – and that means ... Read more »

ITV addresses claims Sheridan Smith was upset on Jonathan Ross Show

Photo credit: Karwai Tang – Getty Images The Jonathan Ross Show guest Sheridan Smith was allegedly left upset backstage following her appearance this week. Appearing alongside Oscar nominee Riz Ahmed, ... Read more »

Why we shunned France and chose Britain – migrants in their own words

Twenty seven people died en route to the UK this week Endless questions have been asked since the freezing waters of the English Channel claimed the lives of 27 people ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy S22 phone sizes shown off in latest image leaks

We’ve already seen a plethora of leaks around the Samsung Galaxy S22, but we’re happy to add another one to the pile: new pictures show off what look to be ... Read more »

Redmi K50 Gaming Edition specifications leaked, MediaTek Dimensity 7000 Redmi phone in the works

The Redmi K50 Gaming smartphone is slated to arrive in early 2022. And while we don’t have any details about the K50 Gaming smartphone, new rumours have surfaced giving us ... Read more »

How NASA's spacecraft will smash into an asteroid and save Earth from harm next year

A NASA spacecraft the size of a golf cart has been directed to smash into an asteroid, with the intention of knocking it slightly off course. The test aims to ... Read more »

Giovanni Pernice dating Verity Bowditch

Giovanni Pernice has found love again credit:Bang Showbiz Giovanni Pernice is dating Verity Bowditch. The 'Strictly Come Dancing' professional recently split from 'Love Island' star Maura Higgins but he's already ... Read more »

A driver shortage could lead to stores in the UK running out of alcohol ahead of Christmas, trade group warns

Rows of cans of hard seltzer and beer on shelf in store.Richa Naidu/Reuters Alcohol providers are reporting delays in delivering alcohol to stores in the UK. The Wine and Spirit ... Read more »

Realme 9 series could feature four models, expected to launch in January 2022

Four new Realme smartphones are arriving in India sometime in Q1 2022. The phones will be part of the company’s next number series, namely the Realme 9 series. Realme previously ... Read more »

LG Energy Solution lays out new funding plan for Michigan plant

An interior view of LG Energy Solution’s Michigan plant (LG Energy Solution)LG Energy Solution, the batteries unit of LG Group, has laid out a new $1.36 billion funding plan to ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic