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Local aviation company called upon to assist with dramatic rescue

Local aviation company called upon to assist with dramatic rescue

Threshold Aviation Group, located at the Chino Airport, was called upon to assist with a vital rescue operation made necessary due to a powerful fire that ripped through one of two seventeen-story hangars at the Tustin Marine Corps Air Station.

The hangar and its twin are more than 1,000 feet long and 300 feet wide.  They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are among the largest wooden structures built in the 20th century.  The hangars were built to house blimps that were used to patrol the coast of California for Japanese submarines during World War II.

Dozens of Orange County firefighters responded to the blaze, but by midmorning on November 7th it was clear they were helpless to stop its demise.

The fire smoldered for days which continued to negatively affect air quality, to the point, a decision was made to keep schools closed for a week. Debris and ash from the fire also showed the presence of asbestos, leading the Air Quality Management District to issue warnings about unhealthy air and urge residents to remain indoors with windows and doors closed.

Human beings were not the only living things affected by the poor air quality.  Near the smoldering hangar were approximately 200 dogs, stuck at a shelter unable to escape.  Poor air quality is just as detrimental to humans as it is to our counterparts.  These dogs were put at risk of respiratory distress due to smoke inhalation from the fire.  According to news reports, “The ASPCA collaborated with Orange County Animal Care (OCAC) to fly the dogs to one of their centers in Columbus, which is dedicated to caring for displaced animals.”  The plan was to place the dogs in other shelters so they can be made available for adoption in the coming weeks.

Threshold stepped up and became the base from where the dogs could be flown and transported safely. According to Jack Garcia, a line service technician at Threshold (who spearheaded the effort), Threshold received a call on Monday the 20th, asking if they could assist Ameriflight with the logistics of getting the canines to their destination. Ameriflight is a nationwide cargo air carrier based in Ontario, California.

“We immediately said we would help, and we got to work,” said Garcia.

The first aircraft arrived at Threshold’s facility on Tuesday, and the team started loading dogs Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. with the last plane loaded at 9:30 a.m.

Garcia allocated personnel from other duties, including other line service technicians and detailing crews, to assist with loading the dogs onto planes after they were brought over in vans by the ASPCA.

“There was a great deal of barking going on as we loaded some 200 or so dogs (primarily German Shepherds, Huskies and Pit Bulls) in individual kennels onto the planes; and the dogs were pretty well-behaved,” said Garcia, “I have to say, it was one of the more entertaining cargo flights I have ever been involved with, and a satisfying opportunity to help some dogs in need.”

The dogs were flown to a large adoption facility in Ohio where they were processed and are now available for adoption.

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One comment

  1. Kudos to Threshold AVIATION..

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