Firefighters at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery train regularly for industrial blazes, but mandates after a huge submarine fire call for an annual drill that’s more extensive than anything done before.

An investigation that followed the USS Miami blaze in May 2012 found that federal firefighters didn’t practice for complex and lengthy fires requiring assistance from community firefighters, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request.

That’s no longer the case at Navy shipyards.

The first of the new drills at the Kittery shipyard was held in January. It involved a complicated scenario that tested the ability of sailors, shipyard firefighters and local firefighters to communicate during a simulation of a long fire aboard a submarine, said Lt. Tim Hawkins, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon.

The Navy wasn’t surprised to learn that the shipyard was capable of bringing together multiple departments successfully to battle a large fire, Hawkins said.

“We were happy that the shipyard demonstrated the ability to handle a major shipyard fire,” he said. “But they already demonstrated this with the USS Miami. Their actions were pretty heroic.”

It took 12 hours and help from firefighters from as far away as Connecticut to save the Miami after a worker who wanted to go home set a small fire that quickly spread.

The fire severely damaged living quarters, the command and control center and a torpedo room but did not reach the nuclear propulsion components at the other end of the 362-foot-long submarine.

The worker who started the fire with a lighter and a box of rags is serving a 17-year sentence in federal prison. Ultimately, the Navy decided to scrap the submarine when the repair bill grew to $700 million.

A fire panel convened by U.S. Fleet Forces concluded the Navy had become complacent about ship fires during repairs and overhauls because of the rarity of such incidents, the success of fire prevention programs and a false sense of security created by the presence of federal firefighters.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, where the Miami was based, has called for a congressional inquiry into the firefighting response but said it’s not likely to happen in the immediate future. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King in Maine have declined to say publicly whether they support such an inquiry.

The Navy blamed itself for failing to incorporate lessons from past fires into training. It also noted there was no requirement for firefighters to be trained in shipboard fires and that firefighters who battled the blaze weren’t as familiar with the submarine layout as they wanted to be.

Federal firefighters say they conducted walk-throughs and trained aboard submarines, but the January drill involved classroom training for local firefighters to familiarize themselves with the sub layout as well, Hawkins said. Unlike past drills, the simulated fire wasn’t easy to locate or extinguish, he said.

The annual test of public shipyards’ ability to respond to major industrial fires is new, but firefighters will continue monthly drills as well, officials said.