LOCATION: Warner Avenue / Legacy Road, Tustin: Former Marine Corps Air Station
CURRENT SITUATION: The hanger has approximately 80 feet of the western facing wall still standing, and the fire continues to slowly consume the framework of the structure. Mitigation crews have completed cleanup and removal of all debris at the immediate hangar site and grounds surrounding the Navy property. Detection and cleanup crews were focusing today on areas just North of the hangar and communities North of Edinger Avenue. 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, Cal OES, Orange County Health Care Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and Orange County Emergency Management, is working to mitigate this situation as quickly as possible.
A controlled and systematic deconstruction of the remaining structure is being prepared. The exact date and time of this event has not been determined, and is based upon building engineers needing to ensure the process considers the weather, the amount of the building remaining, and any impacts to the community members. Although we don’t have a finalized plan, we do know that the main part of this deconstruction will be the removal of the large metal framed doors, and removal of any portion of the remaining western facing wall. The large concrete column supports on each corner are not a part of the immediate plan. The moment we have a confirmed date and time; it will be announced.
Several air monitoring units (AMUs) have been deployed around the site, and inside a 1.5-mile diameter around the hangar. These AMUs have been monitoring 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 AMUs will be present during the remainder of the incident and will inform us if there are additional precautions to be made in the area.
WEATHER: Scattered rain is expected tonight, and more is expected on Saturday. Unfortunately, the rain is unlikely to put out the hangar fire. Water from the storm system will soak into the dirt fields surrounding the hangar, and large catch basins will collect any runoff that could occur. During today’s operations, rain cells passed over the operational area and surrounding communities this afternoon. These rain cells included some lightning activity. Although the rain does not affect the work being conducted in the area, lightning activity creates a dangerous situation for the workers. Out of an abundance of caution, and following emergency operations safety policies of the OCFA, ATI, and other agencies working in the area, a decision was made for the safety of the workers to cease operations for the remainder of the day. Normal operations are scheduled to resume tomorrow morning.
CALL CENTER & WEBSITE: The City of Tustin has a call center for community members 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. The geography of impacted areas are still being identified and are dynamic in nature. If you believe your neighborhood has been impacted by fire debris, please review and follow the actions noted below.
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:
HISTORY OF THE INCIDENT: 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. 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 consumed the hanger, the entire structure has also become extremely unstable, risking the safety of 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. As the Fire Chief stated during the first press conference at this incident, the safest and most operationally sound method of extinguishing this fire is to let it burn itself out.
Future updates from this incident will be released daily that will include updated information based on new intel from the incident.