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Assemblywoman Letter to Navy on Tustin Hangar Fire

For immediate release:

December 5, 2023

Elizabeth Roddy
BRAC Environmental Coordinator
Department of the Navy
Program Management Office West
33000 Nixie Way, BLDG 50 Suite 207
San Diego, CA 92147

Re: North Hangar Fire at the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin, CA

Dear Coordinator Roddy,

As the representative of the constituents of the 73rd Assembly District, which includes the City of Tustin, I am writing to request a prompt update from your office regarding plans to mitigate the impacts of the devastating North Hangar Fire at the former Marine Corps Air Station.

As you well know, the devastating North Hangar Fire began on November 7, 2023, and it was not declared extinguished until December 1 – twenty-four days after it began. On November 9, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) announced that air and ash samples in the surrounding area tested positive for asbestos, lead, arsenic, and nickel. For weeks, toxic debris and ash from the fire blanketed the community, landing in nearby parks, schools, open spaces, and residential properties. I am deeply concerned that the ash, debris, and other pollutants emitted will have lasting and detrimental health and environmental impacts on the surrounding community, possibly for generations to come.

Residents are rightfully dismayed and frustrated by a lack of communication and a lack of community engagement, including by the Department of the Navy, the property owner. I respectfully request that you address the following concerns and provide responses to the following questions:

  1. Debris Cleaning and Remediation
    • Currently, residents and small businesses are able to request debris clean-up on the City of Tustin’s website; however, requests are limited to testing and remediation of ground-level, exterior spaces.
    • Some residents have already contracted for private interior testing, which has revealed positive results for asbestos, lead, and other heavy metals. As a result, some homes have been declared inhabitable and reported to the Orange County Healthcare Agency.
    • Like impacted residents, I implore the Navy to immediately expand the current debris and mitigation efforts to include rooftops, windows, shared outdoor spaces, and interior spaces.
  2. Comprehensive Testing Strategy
    • What is the Navy’s comprehensive and thorough near-term and long-term plan to test for toxic materials emitted into the community as a result of the fire?
    • How frequently will testing occur, how will testing occur and how will the testing plans be communicated to Tustin residents?
  3. Funding & Reimbursement
    • Residents have incurred substantial costs for residential testing, relocation, remediation, and the disposal and replacement of household items and personal belongings.
    • What is the Navy’s plan to establish a fund and a claim mechanism to enable residents and small businesses to seek reimbursement for incurred costs?

Today marks 4 weeks since the beginning of this emergency. Tustin residents are rightly scared and frustrated that they still do not have clear answers from the Navy on these fundamental questions. I would like the Navy to provide answers to these questions by December 8, the end of this week.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to working with you to ensure the health and safety of the residents of Tustin and the community at large. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at (916) 319-2073.


Cottie Petrie-Norris
Assemblywoman, 73rd District

cc: Mayor Austin Lumbard, City of Tustin
Frank Kim, CEO, County of Orange
Nancy Ward, Director, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES)