PORTLAND, Maine -- A civilian laborer set a fire that caused $400 million in damage to a nuclear-powered submarine because he had anxiety and wanted to get out of work early, Navy investigators said yesterday.
Casey James Fury, 24, of Portsmouth, N.H., faces up to life in prison if convicted of two counts of arson in the fire aboard the USS Miami attack submarine in dry dock May 23 and in a second blaze outside the sub on June 16.
Fury was taking medications for anxiety and depression and told investigators he set the fires so he could get out of work, according to a seven-page affidavit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Fury did not enter a plea.
People who appeared to be family members attended the hearing but declined to comment. His federal public defender, David Beneman, did not speak in court and earlier in the day also declined to comment to The Associated Press.
The Miami was in dry dock at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, for an overhaul when the fire damaged the torpedo room and command area inside the forward compartment. It took more than 12 hours to extinguish.
A second fire was reported June 16 on the dry dock cradle on which the Miami rests, but there was no damage and no injuries.
Fury, who was working on the sub as a painter and sandblaster, initially denied starting the fires, but he eventually acknowledged his involvement, the affidavit states.
He admitted setting the May 23 fire, which caused an estimated $400 million in damage, while taking a lie-detector test and being told by the examiner he wasn't being truthful.
Fury told Timothy Bailey, an agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, that "his anxiety started getting really bad," so he grabbed his cigarettes and a lighter, walked up to a bunk room and set fire to some rags on the top bunk.