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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

Tustin’s Historic World War II North Hangar Burns Down

Poor air quality from the fire caused multiple schools in Tustin to shut down temporarily. Nobody wants to close schools, vice president of the Tustin Unified School Board Allyson Muniz Damikolas said in a statement released to ABC News. I want schools opened as fast as possible and as safely as possible.”
Courtesy of the City of Tustin
Poor air quality from the fire caused multiple schools in Tustin to shut down temporarily. “Nobody wants to close schools,” vice president of the Tustin Unified School Board Allyson Muniz Damikolas said in a statement released to ABC News. “I want schools opened as fast as possible and as safely as possible.”

A fire broke out in Tustin’s North Hangar on Nov. 7. Firefighters initially attempted to put out the flames, but the sheer size of the building made the task too dangerous, so a controlled burn was implemented until the roof collapsed. The cause of the fire is unknown, according to the Los Angeles Times..

Due to the fire, Tustin schools switched to remote learning throughout the week, and eight nearby city parks were closed indefinitely because of poor air quality, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“These fires are really causing schools and people around them to be unsafe,” senior Jewelia Libejas-Suarez said. “It’s very alarming to people because they’re gonna start breathing in unsafe air conditions, especially with people who are very vulnerable to that.”

The North and South Tustin Hangars played a crucial role in major U.S. Military operations from 1942 to 1992, including World War II (WWII), the Korean War and the Vietnam War, according to the City of Tustin. The hangars are the largest wooden structures in the world and were originally built in 1942 to store blimps used to patrol California’s coastline for Japanese submarines during WWII, according to CBS News.

“I think it’s really unfortunate to lose one of the few historical relics that we have near Irvine,” sophomore Ella Bailey said. “I also think it’s just really harmful to the community in Irvine because it’s just part of Irvine’s history and it’s really saddening to lose such an important part of it.”

Tustin city officials have not issued evacuation orders but have warned residents to temporarily relocate until the smoke clears, according to CBS News. Firefighters are currently vacuuming nearby parking lots, roofs and gutters to clear them of ash and debris, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s sad because it just happened near Veterans Day,” junior Claire Chan said. “It’s a historical landmark for WWII. There are a lot of memories about, you know, how Irvine came to be.”

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the fire and discussing future plans for demolition, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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About the Contributor
Aditi Salunkhe, Assistant Sports Editor
Aditi Salunkhe is the Assistant Sports Editor for her second year on the Portola Pilot. When she’s not stressing about final draft deadlines, you can find her watching true crime documentaries or going on long runs with her cross country teammates. In her freetime, she often reads mystery books in bed with her favorite snacks.
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