November 11, 2023
In the wake of the recent hangar fire at Tustin’s former military base, efforts are underway to address the fallout, specifically concerning the cleanup of asbestos-laden debris that has affected local neighborhoods. The aftermath of the fire has prompted a concerted response from authorities and communities to address the potential health risks and environmental concerns.
The fire, which engulfed one of the historic Navy hangars, resulted in the scattering of debris across neighboring areas, with air quality officials subsequently confirming the presence of asbestos due to the hangar’s age and the materials used during its construction.
Tustin Mayor Austin Lumbard assured that asbestos experts would imminently arrive in the most affected neighborhoods to address the debris and ensure its safe removal before any further disturbance. A $1 million agreement with the U.S. Navy, unanimously approved by the city leaders, will fund the asbestos contractors. The priority, according to Lumbard, is to swiftly mobilize these experts within days, a commitment made during a recent city council meeting.
Local parks have already seen the commencement of cleanup, but the larger efforts encompass neighborhoods such as Colombus Square, Tustin Meadows, Laurelwood, Pepper tree, and others directly affected by the fallout. While the city is taking a proactive stance in managing the crisis, it also emphasizes the ultimate responsibility of the Navy in dealing with the repercussions of the fire on its property.
This urgent situation has shed light on the need for effective communication and coordination, especially with local homeowner associations (HOAs) during emergencies. Mayor Lumbard admitted to the existing challenges in quickly reaching out to HOAs but views this as an opportunity to strengthen communication channels for better crisis management.
Efforts extend beyond the city’s domain, with Orange County officials also engaging in the hiring of asbestos contractors and establishing a hotline for affected residents. County officials are striving to provide resources and assistance, urging impacted individuals to utilize the hotline and website for support and guidance.
The community response and collaborative measures seek to ensure a timely and efficient resolution while addressing concerns about air quality and the potential health impacts on residents. Despite the challenges and frustrations posed by the disaster, the collective determination remains resolute in navigating through this crisis, underscoring the importance of cohesive governmental response and community support.