Before and after: Photos show destruction of World War II-era hangar by massive fire

The north hangar was one of two enormous twin structures at the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station built by the military during World War II for blimp operations.  Over the years, the hangars became beloved landmarks in the community and even served as sets for the TV show “Star Trek” and the film “Pearl Harbor.”

In the early hours of Nov. 7, firefighters responded to reports of a blaze at the north hangar. The cause is still under investigation.

The two mostly wooden hangars – each is 17 stories tall, 1,000 feet long and 300 feet wide – were quickly built at the base to house 12 blimps to patrol the West Coast against Japanese submarines. In later years the hangars were used by helicopter squadrons until the base was shuttered.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which named the hangars one of the “Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks” of the 20th Century, the Tustin hangars are two of the largest wooden structures ever built, and contain the largest covered, unobstructed open space of any structures in the world. In August 1978, the hangers were designated as a National Historical Landmark.


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