Massive fire destroys WWII-era blimp hangar in Southern California
By Zoey Sky // Nov 28, 2023

A massive fire destroyed a World War II-era wooden hangar built to house military blimps earlier this month in Southern California.

In a social media post, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) revealed that allowing the wooden hangar to collapse was the only way to fight the raging flames. The OCFA also released a video showing the flames racing along the curved roof of the hangar, which fell apart in sections. There was also a huge plume of dark smoke that could be seen for miles around.

"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, at which point ground crews can move in closer, and aggressively work to extinguish the fire," reported the OCFA.

At a press conference that Tuesday morning, OCFA Fire Chief Brian Fennessy announced that there were fortunately no injuries reported. The fire smoldered until late at night on Tuesday. (Related: White-hot Maui fires fueled by chemtrail aerosols, ammonium nitrate, warns analyst.)

Fennessy also said more than 70 firefighters had responded at about 1 a.m. to try to contain the fire in one of two hangars at the former Marine Corps Air Station Tustin.

After initial efforts failed to extinguish the fire in the north hangar, Fennessy added that the fire authority deployed three helicopters to douse the building from above, a method that is often used to put out large-scale wildfires.

WWII-era hangar was used for Hollywood shoots

At the news conference, officials said it was rather upsetting to see a building with such a history destroyed by the fire, particularly since many local residents had ties to the hangar. Some of them had relatives that had once worked at the camp while others viewed the enormous structure with reverence.

According to the Tustin Area Historical Society, the base was known as the Santa Ana Naval Air Station in 1942. In the past, it housed blimps that were "used to patrol America’s coastline primarily to watch for enemy submarines."

The historic hangar was one of two hangars that was built in 1942 for the U.S. Navy in the city of Tustin, located 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles. At the time, the Navy used lighter-than-air ships for patrol and antisubmarine defense.

The hangars are 17 stories high and over 1,000 feet long and 300 feet wide, making them some of the largest wooden structures ever built. The destroyed structure was known as the north hangar.

The Navy installation then became a Marine Corps air station in the 1950s.

In 1951, the base was reactivated to support the military during the Korean War and it was known as the first air facility developed exclusively for helicopter operations. It eventually closed in 1999.

The north hangar and the south hangar were then added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

The hangar has been featured in several Hollywood productions for TV shows and movies such as "JAG," "Pearl Harbor" and "The X Files." The hangars have also appeared in commercials.

In 1993, the site was listed as one of the historic civil engineering landmarks of the 20th century by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Fennessy said the destruction of the historic hangar was "a sad day for the city of Tustin and all of Orange County.

"But we are fortunate that no injuries have been reported and we are in a position to extinguish the blaze without putting firefighters at risk, albeit several days," concluded Fennessy.

Fennessy added that the agency was in contact with the Navy, which still owns the property.

The city of Tustin said the north hangar sustained roof damage during an October 2013 windstorm.

Visit for more news coming out of California.

Watch the video below for about the fire in Lahaina, Maui.

This video is from the Think About It channel on

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