Ex-shipyard worker pleads guilty to USS Miami arson

Raquel Erhard – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Kittery, ME, United States (4E) – A 24-year-old former shipyard worker, who started a fire aboard a docked nuclear submarine in Kittery, Maine to get out of work after having issues with his ex-girlfriend, pleaded guilty Thursday.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Casey Fury pleaded guilty to two counts of arson for the blaze aboard the USS Miami that occurred on May 23 and June 16 under a plea agreement that could send him behind bars for almost 20 years.

Fury, from New Hampshire, worked as painter and sandblaster at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard until his detention on July 23.

Authorities said Fury confirmed that he set a fire on the nuclear sub, and another one outside the vessel, on May 23 because he was having troubles with his ex-girlfriend.

Nearly $450 million damage was caused to the USS Miami said officials. The fire was contained 12 hours by more than 100 firefighters, five fire responders were wounded.

Preliminary investigation divulged the fire began in a vacuum cleaner utilized by shipyard workers that was stored in an unoccupied space.

Navy Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of Naval operations, said earlier the fire’s damage was limited to the forward compartment spaces.

He added that the submarine’s nuclear reactor, located at the rear of the vessel and had been shut down for more than two months while work was done on the submarine, was not affected.

The July 16 fire was immediately extinguished.

The military is set to repair the submarine and it is expected to operate in 2015.

Based in Croton, Connecticut, the USS Miami arrived at the shipyard in March. It usually carries a crew of 13 officers and 120 enlisted staff.

The Navy’s Vessel Register stated the 362 feet long attack submarine was commissioned in 1990 and is nuclear powered.

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