The National Park Service is blaming the improper demolition of a historic building at Pearl Harbor on a lack of understanding and training, the AP reports. The Park Service launched an investigation after discovering the mistake earlier this year. The federal agency found officials did not consult historic preservation authorities as required in part because they lacked an understanding of cultural-resource laws and responsibilities. The agency's investigation also concluded a cultural resource compliance coordinator responsible for the project was inadequately trained. A report released last week identified turnover of key park staff as another contributing factor to the problem.
The home was among six bungalows the Navy built in the 1920s and 1930s that the Park Service planned to restore. A building similar in style to the demolished home now stands in its place. An environmental assessment conducted for the project in 2012 described the homes as unique examples of historic Navy housing in Hawaii. All six were found to be in poor condition—some sustained minor damage in the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor—but the assessment called for the restoration work to "retain as much historic fabric through rehabilitation as possible." "The National Park Service takes its responsibility to protect our nation's heritage very seriously, and moving forward, we will do everything necessary to ensure that we fulfill that duty," a Park Service's director says. (Read more Pearl Harbor stories.)