Recent high winds in the area have been complicating cleanup efforts, but officials said steps were taken in advance.
“We’ve been taking measures for the last few days to saturate the site and the structure with water to try to mitigate some of the the dust and debris from getting airborne. We’ve also placed 33 air monitoring units in and around the site so that we’re actively monitoring the air conditions,” Tustin Mayor Austin Lumbard said Monday. “It’s sort of a comprehensive approach, but there are still ongoing concerns.”
Air monitoring and sampling units are set up surrounding the site to keep an eye on air quality levels and results are being posted to the Tustin city website. Officials are using “a moderate threshold” to gauge the readings, meaning those in sensitive groups might experience health effects at that level but the general public would be “less likely” to be affected.
“The Orange County Health Care Agency has suggested that if you have respiratory issues, you could wear a mask, but it’s not not required,” Lumbard said.
“We do have proactive crews out clearing neighborhoods and they will be moving on to residential properties soon,” Lumbard said. “So we’ll be collecting any debris that residents have.”
Lumbard said a “surgical approach” is being used for the “deconstruction” of the hangar. As a safety precaution, the doors and concrete pillars will remain standing while plans are developed to stabilize the doors in place.
“We are not currently touching the doors, but we will be moving into that phase where we’re going to dismantle the doors in a methodical approach,” Lumbard said. “Residents should not expect to see a wrecking ball out there. We’re going to try to secure them and lower them down as safely as possible. Once those go, the concrete pillars will remain or columns will remain for the time being while we figure out if they’re structurally sound.”
In terms of collaboration, Lumbard said agencies are working together much more smoothly than at the start.
“Initially the major concern obviously was the active fire and getting that extinguished. Nobody thought it was going to last nearly 12 days of active smoke,” Lumbard said. “I know there was some frustration from the community and frankly, from the city, on the initial data sharing, but I would say the last nine days or so since we stood up our incident management team, we’ve gotten the level of collaboration that we need. And it will continue until we get through this incident.”
The city of Tustin is providing masks they become available. Between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. impacted community members can pick up N95 masks at the Columbus Tustin Recreation Center located at 17522 Beneta Way.
Daily updates will continue to be posted to the city’s website at tustinca.org.