Vacuum Cleaner Caused $400 Million In Damages To US Nuclear Submarine

June 6, 2012

PORTSMOUTH, MAINE – A fire last month aboard a U.S. nuclear submarine that caused more than $400 million in damage may have been caused by a vacuum cleaner, the Navy said Wednesday.

“Preliminary findings indicate the fire started in a vacuum cleaner used to clean work sites at end of shift, and stored in an unoccupied space,” the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Congressional and Public Affairs Office said in a news release. “Specific details as to the cause and subsequent damage assessment are still being evaluated as part of ongoing investigations and will be released at a later date.”

Public Affairs Officer Deb White said she did not know what kind of vacuum cleaner had been implicated in the blaze or whether the same machine was used by any other nuclear submarines.

The May 24 incident affected the forward compartment of the USS Miami, where the crew’s living quarters, command and control spaces and the torpedo room are, the release said.

“Miami’s nuclear propulsion spaces were not affected by the fire,” the release said. “The ship’s nuclear propulsion plant was not operating at the time and the plant had been shut down for over two months. Nuclear propulsion spaces were isolated from the forward compartment fire early and spaces remained habitable, manned and in a safe and stable condition throughout the entire event. There were no torpedoes or other weapons onboard the submarine.”

Cleanup in the forward compartment began last week and the Navy estimated an “initial rough repair cost” of $400 million, plus some 10% for what it called “secondary effects,” including disruption to other planned work in the shipyards and the possible need to contract work to the private sector.

The submarine was commissioned in 1990 and carries a crew of 12 officers and 98 enlisted personnel, according to the Navy.

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US Navy Nuclear Powered Submarine USS Miami Catches Fire At Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

May 23, 2012

KITTERY, MAINE – A fire has been reported on a nuclear-powered submarine at a Maine shipyard.

Fire crews are responding to the blaze on the USS Miami SSN 755 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, located on an island in the small town of Kittery near Portsmouth, N.H. The Portsmouth Herald newspaper says several firefighters have been injured.

Shipyard public affairs specialist Gary Hildreth says the fire is located in the forward compartment of the sub. The shipyard says the sub’s reactor wasn’t operating at the time of Wednesday evening’s fire and wasn’t affected.

Nonessential personnel have been removed from the sub. Black smoke has been billowing overhead, visible from surrounding areas.

The USS Miami is a Los Angeles class submarine. It arrived at the shipyard for maintenance and upgrade work in March. Its home station is Groton, Conn., where the U.S. Navy has a submarine base.

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