An active flare-up was ignited at a historic hangar in Tustin on Saturday, prompting concerns after the large blaze had left the community with toxic air this week.
The fire was spotted around 5:30 p.m. as crews from the Orange County Fire Authority and Tustin Police Department responded to the scene.
The smoldering hot spots were burning above the northside doors on Hangar 1, also known as the north hangar. O.C. fire officials confirmed the hot spots will remain for some time as crews work to extinguish the flames and contain any further flare-ups.
“Please continue to stay out of the area,” Tustin city officials said. “Residents in the area should continue to keep their doors and windows closed as a precaution. We will continue to have our 24-hour fire watch personnel on site until further notice.”
Following the massive fire that destroyed the historic air base hangar on Nov. 7, county and city officials declared a local state of emergency after poor air quality, asbestos and other toxins were found.
Samples of debris and ash were collected in areas near the hangar and lab testing confirmed the presence of asbestos, lead, arsenic and nickel, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The poor air quality prompted the Tustin Unified School District to close all school campuses on Thursday and Friday, with the closures now extended to Monday, Nov. 13.
On Saturday, school district officials provided an update on the closures saying:
“We have secured a certified asbestos consulting firm, Envirocheck, to conduct testing at all TUSD campuses. Their expertise in testing and remediation of environmental concerns will guide our next steps for reopening our campuses. Our top priority remains getting our students and staff safely back on campus.”
Some parks across the city were also closed out of precaution including:
-The Annex at Tustin Legacy, 15445 Lansdowne Road
-Tustin Legacy Park, Red Hill Avenue/Barranca Parkway
-Veterans Sport Park, 1645 Valencia Avenue
-Tustin Sports Park, 12850 Robinson Drive
-Victory Park, 3300 Park Avenue
-Centennial Park, 14722 Devonshire Ave.
-Frontier Park, 1400 Mitchell Ave.
-Ron Foell Park, 60 Windrow Rd.
-Pine Tree Park, 1402 Bryan Ave.
Air samples will continue to be collected from public areas near the hangar and in local communities to be analyzed for “gaseous air toxics, such as benzene,” officials said. Long-term environmental testing is anticipated as results are being processed.
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
-Wearing a properly fitted N95 or P100 facemask could provide protection
-Minimize sources of indoor air pollution including anything that burns such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves, candles or incense
“Our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is also active and closely monitoring the situation,” city officials said on Saturday night.
Don Wagner, Chairman of the OC Board of Supervisors, released a statement saying:
“I spoke with Division Chief Scott Wiedensohler on the flare up at the Tustin Hangar. There is no threat of spread & there isn’t debris in the smoke due to the low energy of the fire. EPA’s perimeter limits our ability to mitigate, & letting it burn out is the safest strategy.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries have been reported so far. Results from the debris and air quality testing will be posted here.