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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: fire & arson

A Navy sailor has been charged with starting a fire on an amphibious assault ship last summer that injured more than 60 firefighters and caused billions in damage.

The 22-year-old USS Bonhomme Richard burst into flames on July 12, 2020, and smoldered for more than four days off San Diego. More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

The ship was decommissioned in November 2020 after an assessment determined repairs to the ship would cost $3 billion and take five to seven years.

Evidence collected in the following investigation was enough to accuse the sailor, who has not been named, of starting the fire, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesperson, said in a statement. The sailor was a crew member at the time and has been charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel.

Read more: USA Today

A Merritt, B.C., man has pleaded guilty to three counts of arson following a series of church fires in the Nicola Valley in January 2019.

August Caprian also pleaded guilty to one count of break and enter with intent at a fourth church.

One of the churches lost in the fires was the historic Murray United Church, located on Highway 5A around 10 kilometres northeast of Merritt, which was built in the 1870s and was used regularly until it closed in 1956.

Until it burned down, the congregation used the small church for special occasions.

Read more: CBC News (Canada)

A man faces several charges, including attempted murder, after authorities say he fired a gun at a Ventura County Firehawk helicopter.

Joshua James Chimarusti, 44, was arrested last Thursday morning on several charges in connection with shots fired at the crew of Ventura County Firehawk Copter 4 the previous night.

The crew had been conducting nighttime training operations in Lake Casitas at about 9:15 p.m. when they became aware of gunfire directed at them, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. The helicopter’s pilot took evasive action and identified a suspect vehicle speeding away, and followed it into Oak View, where it stopped in the 200 block of Olive Street. Authorities say the suspect got out of the car and fired more shots at the helicopter, then ran away to avoid being arrested.

Read more: CBS Los Angeles

The Cuban Embassy in Paris said on Tuesday that its building had been attacked with petrol bombs, causing serious damage but no injuries to diplomatic staff.

The embassy published photos on its official Twitter account of damage to the building and condemned the attack. It did not say who it thought was responsible.

"Those directly responsible for these acts are those who incite violence and hatred against our country," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

A police source said an investigation was under way, adding that the motives behind the incident were not known.

Read more: Reuters

A Portland man was sentenced to four years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to setting fire to the Multnomah County Justice Center and throwing a Molotov cocktail at officers during a protest in September, officials said.

Cyan Bass, now 22, pleaded guilty to all five charges, including including first-degree arson, first-degree assault and unlawful possession of an explosive device, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Bass originally pleaded not guilty in federal court in October. He was then charged in Multnomah County Circuit Court. His co-defendant, Hannah Lilly of Portland, pleaded guilty in February to her role in helping Bass damage the Justice Center. Lilly, now 22, was ordered to perform community service and pay the city $46,000 in restitution.

Read more: The Oregonian