PORTLAND, Maine — A civilian employee working as a painter and sandblaster aboard a submarine at a Maine shipyard has been charged with setting a fire that caused $400 million in damages to the vessel in May, and a second fire near it in June, Navy investigators said in a complaint filed Monday.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service said 24-year-old Casey James Fury has been charged with two counts of arson involving the USS Miami, according to the complaint filed in federal court in Maine. Investigators said Fury told them his anxiety caused him to set the fires. He was on multiple medications for anxiety and depression, according to the criminal complaint.
The submarine was in dry dock for an overhaul at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. Court documents say Fury was assigned to strip paint in the torpedo room. He first denied involvement in the fires, then later acknowledged his involvement in the major fire when it was clear he was failing a polygraph examination, federal investigators say.
Fury, from Portsmouth, N.H., is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Portland Monday afternoon.
It was not immediately known whether Fury has a lawyer. He agreed to take the polygraph examination July 20 without a lawyer present.
According to federal court documents, Fury initially denied involvement in the May 23 fire and a subsequent, minor fire on the dry dock supporting the USS Miami on June 16.
A federal investigator stated that in a follow-up interview with Fury on July 18, he admitted setting the second fire. He told investigators he became anxious after texting a former girlfriend about the man she was seeing and wanted to leave work, according to the complaint. He told federal investigators his anxiety also prompted him to set the May 23 fire in a state room of the submarine. He told investigators he set fire to a bag of rags atop one of the bunks.