LOCATION: Warner Avenue / Legacy Road, Tustin: Former Marine Corps Air Station
BACKGROUND: On the morning of November 7th, the Orange County Fire Authority responded to a report of a well-established fire inside one of the former Marine Corps Air Station hangars located near the intersection of Warner Avenue and Legacy Road. The attack on the fire was hampered by the height of the hangar (17 stories tall). The OCFA attempted helicopter water drops as well. Unfortunately, the drops could not access void spaces & seat of the fire. This makes an aerial fire attack an unviable option. As the fire has slowly eaten away at the hanger, the entire structure has also become extremely unstable, risking the safety of our firefighters. Therefore, a decision was made to place fire resources in a defensive posture and allow the fire to burn, while preventing fire spread to other buildings or property on the incident site. Since the hangar is such a large structure, this fire continues to smolder, and on occasion, flare up. This is expected fire behavior, and there is no threat of spread to surrounding structures. In other words, what the Fire Chief stated during the first press conference at this incident, is that the safest and most operationally sound method of extinguishing this fire is to let it burn itself out.
CURRENT SITUATION: Detection and cleanup crews continue to be deployed into neighborhoods around the hangar site. With limited crews to deploy, this process will likely take some time to complete. If you have hangar debris in your area, please report it on the city’s webpage https://tustinca.org. Incident management team planners continually track progress and are sending crews to affected areas. This is going to take time to complete, and we appreciate the public’s patience with the process. The City of Tustin, in partnership with the U.S. Navy, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Orange County Health Care Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and Orange County Emergency Management, is working to mitigate this situation as quickly as possible.
Air monitoring units (AMU’s) have been deployed around the site, and inside a 1.5-mile circumference around the hangar. These AMU’s monitor for dust and smoke. Currently, there are no areas that are showing unhealthful levels. In addition, the monitoring shows no breathable asbestos in the air. However, if smoke or dust drifts through your area, please use the recommended guidelines shown below. These AMU’s will be present during the remainder of the incident and will inform us if there are additional precautions to be made in the area.
Although the fire is still slowly consuming more of the hangar, a controlled and systematic teardown of the remaining structure is being prepared. The exact date and time of the teardown has not been determined. Building engineers need to ensure the teardown process considers the weather, the amount of the building remaining, and any dustup from the work. The moment we have a confirmed date and time; it will be announced.
CALL CENTER & WEBSITE: The City of Tustin has opened a call center for residents to contact with questions about the incident, and to report possible hangar debris for cleanup. The phone number is listed at the top of this update. We have also created a section on our city webpage https://tustinca.org dedicated to the hangar incident. Click the banner on top of the main page, and click to view sections relating to the status of the incident, along with safety tips from our partner agencies working on the incident.
ASBESTOS / SMOKE PRECAUTIONS: Asbestos has been identified in the debris related to the Tustin Hangar fire incident. Avoid touching or disturbing debris related to the fire. The following is guidance below for residents in the immediate areas:
Reducing your exposure at home:
- Keep windows and doors closed
- Remove shoes before entering the home
- Turn on indoor Air Purifiers
- Keep Air Conditioning units, HVAC systems, Swamp Coolers and Whole house fans off to minimize drawing outside air in.
- If you have a pet, minimize outdoor activity Reduce your exposure outdoors:
- Avoid touching debris
- If your skin, eyes or mouth inadvertently come into contact with debris, wash thoroughly as soon as you can.
- Limit or avoid activities that will displace debris related to the fire. (Example- Avoid sweeping, landscaping, leaf blowing, mowing, gardening)
- Avoid outdoor activities (exercise, running, cycling, basketball, soccer, etc.), yard furniture and play equipment until advised otherwise.
- Avoid temporarily closed areas (parks, schools).
- If you must go outdoors in the immediate area, P100 respirators offer greater protection than well fitted N95 masks.
- Seek medical attention if you have any medical concerns.
PARK CLOSURES: Some parks have reopened after debris testing, while others are still closed. Please follow the following link for up-to-date park closure information.
SCHOOL CLOSURES: Schools continue to be tested for debris. Please use the following link for up-to-date information on school closure status:
Future updates from this incident will be released daily that will include updated information based on new intel from the incident.