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Federal agents questioning sailor about Bonhomme Richard fire

Sailors and federal firefighters combat a fire onboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego July 12. Multiple sources have reported that federal agents are questioning a sailor in connection with the blaze, which burned for four days and injured 63 people. Photo by Christina Ross/U.S. Navy
Sailors and federal firefighters combat a fire onboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at Naval Base San Diego July 12. Multiple sources have reported that federal agents are questioning a sailor in connection with the blaze, which burned for four days and injured 63 people. Photo by Christina Ross/U.S. Navy | License Photo

Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Federal agents are questioning a sailor in connection with the July fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard.

The sailor was on board the amphibious warship on July 12 when a fire broke out in the lower vehicle storage area, USNI News, as well as NBC and ABC affiliates in San Diego, all reported Wednesday.

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The resulting fire burned for four days.

No one has been charged with a crime in connection with the incident, and those who spoke to the media -- all speaking anonymously -- said the investigation is still ongoing, with USNI and ABC reporting that the Naval Criminal Investigation Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are the agencies investigating the fire.

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In addition to the criminal investigation, the 3rd Fleet command is leading an investigation and safety probe into the fire.

The fire did not result in any deaths, but a total of 63 people -- 40 sailors and 23 civilians -- were treated for injuries related to the fire, including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

Test results released by San Diego County Air Pollution Control District at the end of July said the smoke from the blaze blanketed communities nearby with a dozen potentially dangerous chemicals.

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And it's not clear whether the Navy will repair and restore the 22-year-old vessel, which was in the midst of a $248 million maintenance period.

In late July the Navy awarded General Dynamics with a $10 million contract modification for salvage and cleanup of the vessel.

It would cost $4 billion to replace the ship if it is deemed unsalvageable.

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