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The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Ongoing air quality concerns following Tustin Hangar fire

ASBESTOS+IN+THE+AIR%3A+The+historic+North+Hangar+continues+to+smolder+as+authorities+plan+for+its+destruction.
Andrew Le
ASBESTOS IN THE AIR: The historic North Hangar continues to smolder as authorities plan for its destruction.

Tustin schools moved online amid air quality concerns after the west wall of the burned Tustin Hangar reignited on Nov. 11.

The blaze has prompted a state of emergency in Tustin and Orange County as asbestos in the hangar has prevented firefighters from putting out the flames. For Tustin schools, students remained off-campus as a certified asbestos firm checked and cleared campuses for asbestos. Schools were brought back in person as it was deemed safe, on a campus by campus basis. In contrast, Irvine schools were not recommended to close as prevailing wind patterns limited air quality threats to students. 

The district monitors air quality threats really closely with the public health agency, so if they think there is any threat at all they will obviously not allow kids to play athletics.

— principal Leslie Roach

“The district monitors air quality threats really closely with the public health agency, so if they think there is any threat at all they will obviously not allow kids to play athletics,” principal Leslie Roach said. “I think it’s hard to understand because Tustin closed down. It’s just how the wind blows, literally.”

IUSD schools including Northwood have various systems in place to keep students safe. COVID-era HEPA filters absorb asbestos, protecting students while in class. Northwood’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems have also been adjusted to prevent intake from outdoor air sources, preventing potential pollutants from entering indoor spaces.

For student athletes, outdoor activity is still allowed as IUSD air quality officials have deemed no threat to students. Athletic practices and games will continue as planned throughout the month. 

Despite the limited threat at Northwood, students and community members should take precautions while visiting exposed areas in and around Tustin as chemical pollutants can inflict long-term respiratory health problems.

“It’s definitely something we consider as coaches,” Northwood soccer coach Joey Cabrera said. “It definitely impacts the drills and the length of practices since we want to be aware of any danger in the air.”

On Sunday, the OC Animal Care Center closed due to the shelter’s close proximity to the debris and the threat posed to animals. Volunteers are encouraged to foster shelter animals for the next two weeks to allow animals to get outdoor activity without respiratory health threats. For more information on ways to support the animal shelter, contact the OC Animal Care Center at [email protected].Hot spots at the hangar site were still burning as of Nov. 20. Authorities have planned the destruction of the site which is set to occur over the next 24-28 hours. Daily incident reports can be found on the Tustin city website.

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About the Contributors
Riya Gupta, Sports Editor
Riya, the Spring Sports Editor at the Northwood Howler, is a junior with boundless enthusiasm packed into a petite frame. Despite her small stature, she radiates the unmistakable aura of someone with tall person energy. When she's not busy doing homework, Riya enjoys indulging in her two passions: ice cream and channeling her inner Snoopy, constantly striving to attain his legendary level of coolness.
Andrew Le, Photographer
Andrew Le is a Northwood Junior and a photographer for The Howler. He spends his time trying to catch up on F1 (and watching everyone try to catch up to Max), listening to music, riding bikes, or sleeping.

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