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Navy to Pay $6 Million for Tustin Blimp Cleanup

Blimp Hangar Remains Make for Expensive Asbestos Hazard

Tustin, California will be home to an expensive, Navy-sponsored cleanup after one of the 17-story blimp hangars burned down last year.


The historic Marine Corps Air Station once held patrolling blimps in its WWII heyday, later being divested in 1999 to become a famed movie set and TV backdrop whenever producers wanted a close, large hangar locale. The hangars suffered a fire in November 2023, destroying much of the structure and leaving the 120-foot doors standing. The mess required quick action on the part of the city of Tustin and the US Navy, who sprayed down "gorilla snot" in an effort to tamp down and retain as much of the asbestos-ridden dust and debris as they could. The contamination was so dreadful to the locals, given the immense scale of the hangars, that local businesses, schools, and parks nearby were closed. The area has been cordoned off, with teams shuffling in wearing full body protection as they work to dispose of the hazardous waste.

In order to make good on the cleanup, the Navy signed a $6.3 million deal with ECC Environmental LCC that will see them take care of everything from here on out. The funding comes from the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which handles the closure of most military installations closed from the 90s onwards.

“The Navy cares about the health and safety of residents,” said Gregory Preston, director of the Department of the Navy Base Realignment and Closure Program Management Office. “We continue to work closely with local officials and other agencies to safely and effectively manage the cleanup of the community and the hangar site.”

“While we are focused on beginning the physical removal of debris as soon as possible, we cannot determine the actual start date at this time,” Preston added. “Before we can take action, debris removal plans must be reviewed and approved by state and federal regulatory agencies to ensure the safety of both the community and the environment.”



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