A fire burns aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS Miami on May 23, 2012.
KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It was one year ago that fire broke out aboard the USS Miami, a nuclear powered submarine docked at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. We know who set it and why ... but until now we've never known details of the unprecedented, multi-state response that it took to put it out.
NEWS CENTER's Kathleen Shannon spent months gathering U.S. Navy documents and talking with Emergency Management officials from Maine and New Hampshire to find out what the conditions were for firefighters aboard the burning submarine and what options were being discussed to douse it.
The fire burned for 12 hours and was complicated by the fact that there is a nuclear reactor on board. In a detailed response to a request filed under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the Navy outlined the many precautions taken to keep sub reactors from leaking radiation and why they can say unequivocally that the reactor was never in danger, nor were surrounding communities.
MORE: Navy Response to NEWS CENTER Freedom of Information Act Request
But firefighers from surrounding communities were - and they detail the harrowing conditions they face while trying to put the fire out. Our investigation shows how close we came to losing lives and a $1.5 billion submarine that night.