PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — New Hampshire’s U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte today honored the first responders who helped contain the fire that badly damaged a submarine at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in May.

Shaheen and Ayotte presented the Senate resolution they and other New England senators sponsored to commend the first responders at a ceremony at Prescott Park in Portsmouth.

“I’m so honored to be here today to recognize everyone who showed so much courage on that day,” Ayotte said.

WMUR-TV reported Shaheen recalled hearing about the thick, black smoke the first responders had to deal with. Also on hand to thank the crew was David Lang, president of the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire.

Last week, the Navy convened a special panel to investigate the May 23 fire that damaged the USS Miami while it was in dry dock for an overhaul at the shipyard in Kittery, Maine. The investigation was ordered by U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

The fire started when an industrial vacuum cleaner sucked up a heat source that ignited debris inside the vacuum, officials say.

Early estimates put the fire damage at $400 million. It damaged the torpedo room, crew quarters, and command and control areas.


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