​USS Miami Fire Set By Painter Wanting To ‘Leave Early’ Costing $400M

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July 25, 2012

An employee set fire to the USS Miami nuclear submarine in May so he could leave work early, after 24-year-old Casey James Fury admitted to the arson that caused $400 million in damage.

The civilian painter was working aboard the USS Miami in Kittery, Maine as a civilian painter and sandblaster when he purposefully set two fires this summer, according to a criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court in Maine.

Fury, who initially denied involvement in either incident, finally told investigators he was responsible for both fires after submitting to a polygraph test, and blamed his anxiety and a conversation with his ex-girlfriend for making him snap.

The first fire was set on May 23 around 5:30 p.m. while the submarine was in dry dock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The blaze raged for 12 hours until firefighters were able to put it out, and the Navy estimated it caused $400 million dollars in damage.

Less than a month later, on June 16, another fire started in the dry dock crade of the submarine. This time the flames were quickly extinguished and “little or no damage” was caused, according to the complaint.

Fury gave two sworn statements that he had simply been a witness to both fires, but when interviewed by investigators again on July 18, he admitted having set the June 16 fire.

He blamed a heated text-message exchange with an ex-girlfriend, explaining he started trying to “convince her that the guy she started seeing was not just a friend like she had been claiming,” according to an affidavit filed by Navy investigator Jeremy Gauthier.

Fury said he initially lied about not being involved “because he was scared” and that the numerous medications he was on made “everything blurry to him.”

He checked himself into a mental health facility on June 21 and checked himself out on June 23.