Orange County officials said Friday that the Tustin Shed Fire was “completely extinguished” after 24 days, calling the fire “one of the most serious structure fires in county history.”
“I am pleased to inform the public that the final hot spot of the Navy hangar fire has been extinguished,” said Steve Dohman, incident commander of the county’s All Hazards Incident Management Team of Orange, in a press release. “With all hot spots now declared, work to safely lower the hangar doors can begin and the Navy can begin removing debris from its site.”
The cause of the fire, which broke out early in the morning of Nov. 7 at the now-defunct Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, remains under investigation.
An 80-year remnant of Orange County’s military history, the massive 17-story wooden hangar became an environmental nightmare as the fire reignited repeatedly, forcing the closure of nearby schools and enclosing residents inside their homes as the fire released asbestos, lead and other toxins into the air.
At one point, firefighters determined the safest option was to let the fire burn out, fearing that dropping thousands of gallons of water on the structure would further spread debris and toxic particles.
As of Friday, officials estimated the cleanup of nearby schools, parks, open spaces and public rights-of-way was 90% complete and that more than 50% of residential properties had been inspected and 35% cleared.
Local officials advised residents concerned about debris to contact a certified asbestos contractor and their home insurance company.
“Area residents and businesses who were impacted by this fire now need the Navy’s full accountability and support from the Governor’s Office and FEMA to help our city and community recover financially.” , Tustin Mayor Austin Lumbard said in a statement. statement.
The North Hangar was one of two massive wooden structures used by the military during World War II and later served as sets for the TV show “Star Trek” and the movie “Pearl Harbor.” The hangars once housed military helicopters and airships armed with machine guns and bombs.