Navy Investigators Suspect Arson in Fire Aboard Docked Destroyer

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney departs Naval Station Rota, Spain, for the last time as a Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe asset, June 27, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Lewis)

Navy investigators are offering a $2,000 reward for information on a December 2022 fire aboard the destroyer USS Carney, a blaze they have deemed likely to have resulted from arson.

In a social media post made Thursday evening, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said it is looking "for information leading to the identification of those responsible for starting a fire" aboard the Mayport, Florida-based ship in the early morning hours of Dec. 23. The service had not previously indicated that it considered the blaze intentional.

In the days after the fire, there were hints that arson was a possibility when the Navy confirmed to that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF -- an agency that calls itself the main federal source for fire investigations and expertise -- was helping in the investigation.

Read Next: 'I Let Down the Combatant Commander': Marine Leader Regrets His Forces Weren't Available for Recent Crises

A Navy spokesman confirmed in December that the Carney suffered a fire at around 3:43 a.m. Dec. 23. The ship's crew, along with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue and a team from the nearby destroyer USS Mason, all responded to the blaze that, according to a Twitter account that specializes in open-source intelligence, was described as a medium-sized class-A fire in one of the ship's compartments.

Class-A blazes occur when things like wood, cloth, paper, rubber or plastic catch fire.

The Navy said that the fire was quickly extinguished, but six sailors were taken to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation before being released the same day.

Unlike the fire that gutted the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in 2020, the Carney was not undergoing scheduled maintenance or moored at a shipyard.

In the case of the Bonhomme Richard, the Navy ultimately accused a young sailor of starting the inferno that claimed the ship, but the case fizzled at court-martial. The ship has since been decommissioned and sent to be scrapped.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Related: Navy Calls in ATF Investigators to Probe Blaze Aboard Destroyer Docked in Florida

Story Continues