Navy commits $27 million more for Tustin hangar fire response; matches what the city has spent

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The Navy will soon commit another $27 million to Tustin for its hangar fire response, bringing the service’s total reimbursement pledge to $88 million, in line with what the city has already spent.

Since the fire broke out in November – it burned for more than three weeks – Tustin has spent $87 million on the response, city officials have said, paying to remove hazardous debris that fell out in the community, conduct air monitoring and test homes for contaminants such as asbestos and lead.

City contractors were hired to clear asbestos-containing debris from streets, parks and residences.

City officials expect cleanup costs to continue to rise, at one point estimating they could total more than $100 million. The Navy has long promised to pay for the response.

The latest $27 million commitment won’t come right away. So far, the city received $33.5 million from the Navy for previous reimbursement agreements.

The City Council approved amending its budget on Tuesday, June 4, in expectation of the money coming in. It also extended the city’s local emergency declaration for the fire by another 60 days.

Since the end of the fire, burnt material left at the site of the World War II-era hangar has been encased in a chemical compound. This summer, a Navy contractor will begin work to clean up the north hangar site where the debris remains.

The Navy expects the cleanup to take a year to complete and will involve removing the remaining four concrete towers.

Air monitoring will continue at the hangar and workers will create negative pressure structures over work areas to prevent dust from blowing away, officials said.

Initial staging work for cleanup is underway, according to the Navy’s Base Realignment and Closure Program office.

The cleanup plan is under review by federal, state and local agencies.

The city also published a recently completed study by Geosyntec Consultants it commissioned that found the hangar fire did not result in a “statistically significant increase” in asbestos or lead in homes studied near the hangar. Results of lab reviews for each home tested were also published online.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.