A burned World War II-era blimp era caused parks and schools in the Southern California city of Tustin to shut down on Thursday after officials found asbestos in the debris.
The city urged residents in a press release to remain indoors and avoid contact with ash from the fire. Anyone experiencing “chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue” is advised to seek medical attention.
The fire broke out in the wooden hangar around 1 a.m. on Tuesday, with the Orange County Fire Authority opting to allow the structure to collapse before extinguishing the blaze.
“Due to the dynamic nature of the fire, and the imminent danger of collapse, we have determined the most operationally sound method is to allow the structure to collapse,” the Fire Authority said in a social media post, “at which point ground crews can move in closer, and aggressively work to extinguish the fire.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and air quality regulators are monitoring the area for toxic materials.
The hangar, built in 1942 to house U.S. military blimps, is one of two in the city. Both are 17 stories high, making them some of the largest wooden structures ever built.
While the hangars were closed in 1999, the U.S. Navy still owns the property they were built on. They have a notable history in TV and film, featuring in “The X Files,” “Star Trek” and other productions, and are considered historic engineering landmarks by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Prior to catching fire, the south hangar was available to rent for certain events and activities. The north hangar had sustained roof damage from an October 2013 windstorm, and is currently closed.
The Tustin hangars were the subject of an award-winning video documentary produced by the city of Tustin in 2015, titled “The Tustin Hangars: Titans of History.”