A flare-up was ignited for the second time at a historic hangar in Tustin on Tuesday night, as residents are still reeling from the toxic effects of the blaze.
Tuesday night’s fire was reported around 7 p.m. as crews from the Orange County Fire Authority responded to the scene.
Images from the hangar show large pieces of debris continuing to fall from the structure as large plumes of smoke billowed into the air.
Since the fire first ignited on Nov. 7., health officials have confirmed the presence of asbestos, lead, arsenic and nickel amid the debris found near the WWII-era hangar. The discovery prompted the declaration of a local state of emergency.
Despite the latest air quality report released Tuesday saying, “Air monitoring in and near the Tustin hangar shows no breathable asbestos in the air,” an official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told KTLA asbestos will be present as long as these hot spots continue burning and will be present in any found debris.
Residents living nearby are concerned about the effects the contaminated air and dangerous debris could have on their health.
“We have children. They can’t go outside,” said Jennifer Dienhart, a local resident. “We can’t go outside. I have debris in my front yard, huge pieces of the hangar which matches the description of what kind of material has already tested positive for asbestos and it’s just sitting there. Days later, no one’s come to pick it up. We try to call to get on a list for it to be picked up, but nothing’s happened.”
The latest fire activity follows a flare-up on Saturday as smoldering hot spots continue to linger.
The fire left behind toxic air, prompting the closure of all schools in the Tustin Unified School District since last Thursday out of precaution.
On Tuesday, district officials confirmed some schools have been cleared to resume classes on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Campuses cleared for students to return include:
- Arroyo Elementary School
- Benson Elementary School
- Guin Foss Elementary School
- Ladera Elementary School
- Loma Vista Elementary School
- Myford Elementary School
- Orchard Hills K-5 School
- Peters Canyon Elementary School
- Red Hill Elementary School
- Tustin Memorial Academy
- Columbus Tustin Middle School
- Foothill High School
- Hewes Middle School
- Orchard Hills 6-8 School
- Pioneer Middle School
Campuses not cleared for reopening will continue virtual lessons on Wednesday until further notice.
Air quality units have been placed in several areas within a one-and-a-half mile circumference around the hangar where “further testing will be conducted by the U.S. EPA at these locations and more,” city officials said.
Health officials continue to urge residents in the area to:
- Limit outdoor exposure and activities
- Avoid touching ash if spotted
- Run the air conditioner or air purifier. Do not use swamp coolers or whole-house fans that bring in outside air
- Wear a properly fitted N95 or P100 facemask
- Minimize sources of indoor air pollution including anything that burns such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves, candles or incense