Smoking appears to be the blame for a fire that caused $70m in damage to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, Naval officials said .
The announcement by the Navy came as Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, relieved the carrier's commanding officer, Capt. David C. Dykhoff, and the executive officer of duty, Capt. David M. Dober. Flames were initially spotted near the auxiliary boiler room and air conditioning and refrigeration space in the rear of the ship. Naval officials now say it took about 12 hours to put out the fire because of the location and size. Fire and heat damaged electrical cabling and components running through 80 of the 3,800 compartments across several decks of the carrier.