May 21, 2018
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New fire aboard embattled nuclear sub USS Miami caused by damaged light fixture

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

KITTERY, Maine — Portsmouth Naval Shipyard officials announced Monday that an afternoon fire aboard the USS Miami submarine was started when a light fixture was damaged during sandblasting.

The quickly extinguished fire was the third blaze on or near the USS Miami in less than a year, the first two of which were high-profile cases of arson.

According to shipyard spokeswoman Deb White, the fire was reported just after 2 p.m. Monday in the control room of the forward end of the ship.

“During sandblasting operations, sandblast grit damaged a temporary light fixture which caused the fire,” Young said in a statement released late Monday afternoon. “The small fire was immediately extinguished with a … fire extinguisher.”

White said no one was injured in the incident, although personnel in the affected area were temporarily evacuated as a precaution.

The USS Miami was the site of two previous fires, one a May 23, 2012, blaze that lasted for 12 hours and gutted the ship, causing $450 million in damages. A second fire was set on the shipyard dry dock outside the vessel on June 16, 2012, and was quickly put out.

Casey James Fury, 25, pleaded guilty to setting both previous fires, and was sentenced Friday to 205 months in prison in a widely publicized case. Fury told investigators he set the fires while suffering from anxiety attacks, in an effort to leave work early.

More than 100 firefighters from multiple states responded to the May 23, 2012, blaze, and five were injured in the incident.

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