The USS Miami fire was set by a civilian employee looking to leave work early. The anxious arsonist apparently set fire to the nuclear Navy submarine twice in 24 days, causing $400 million in damage.
The USS Miami fires in Maine were caused by Casey James Fury, who worked as a painter and sandblaster aboard the ship in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. While he initially denied any knowledge or involvement in the May 23 and June 16 fires when first questioned, he eventually admitted that he started them during a polygraph test.
"The reason he set the fire was in order to get out of work," his 7-page affidavit reads. "Fury further explained to [the examiner] that he had failed to admit his involvement … because he was scared and because everything was blurry to him and his memory was impacted due to his anxiety and the medication he was taking at the time."
He certainly had the right to be scared: for his sudden crime, he faces life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Fury claimed that a text message conversation with his ex-girlfriend made him anxious because he was trying to "convince her that the guy she started seeing was not just a friend like she had been claiming," the affidavit, filed by Navy investigator Jeremy Gauthier, read.
"Fury explained that he became anxious over the text exchange with his ex-girlfriend and wanted to leave work," the investigator wrote.
For that reason, the young man found a bag of alcohol wipes and set them on fire outside the submarine. Fortunately, very little damage was done.
However, his earlier fire he set because his "anxiety was getting really bad" was more costly. Cigarettes and a lighter were placed on a top bunk, set aflame, and cause $400 million in damage after the blaze raged for 12 hours. After the Portsmouth, N.H. man set the fire, firefighters put it out, and the Navy blamed a vacuum cleaner that had sucked up debris.
Fury admitted to taking multiple medications for anxiety, depression, sleep, and allergies. June 21, he checked himself into an in-patient mental health center, checking out two days later.
Fury was charged with two counts of arson, and if convicted, could be order to pay restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.