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May 24, 2022

Letters to the Editor

Airport Explosion Points up Questions, Like Adaptability
Airport Explosion Points up Questions, Like Adaptability


The recent explosion at the Hollister Airport, (Free Lance 6/20), raises questions about safety and staffing at the facility. The Airport Manager reported that a 30-foot-high fireball filled the sky after a tenant mistakenly cut into a wing that still had fuel in the wing tank. He goes on to state that this explosion was due to under staffing at the Airport, and that appropriate staffing could save lives.

Are there any recent statistics related to fatalities at the Airport due to under staffing? Has the Airport Commission looked into this? Would more employees have prevented the tenant from cutting into the wing? It seems the Hollister Fire Department responded quickly and transfer to a Burn Unit was expedient. I don’t believe that having someone patrol the facility with a fire extinguisher and cell phone would have changed the outcome of this event.

I’m not familiar with daily operations at the Airport. I know the Manager is busy with meetings, working on the computer, and touching base with local officials during the day. But hiring 24/7 personnel isn’t the best solution, especially during this time of budget constraints in our city. Does the grass need to be mowed daily?

If the Airport Manager is concerned about loss of life at his facility, maybe some rules/guidelines need to be in place and enforced, like easy access to 911 in all the hangers and around the facility. As a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department, I do save lives. We rely on the EMS Medics to initiate treatment and transport the person to the ER. More employees at the Airport may help with appearances, but unless they are trained medical professionals, I doubt they would help save a life. Enforcement of rules and quick access to emergency services may help.

Until the City can hire help for the Airport Manager, he should be resourceful, like cutting areas of grass himself if needed. It is not uncommon for professionals to don different hats if a job needs to be done. After all, being adaptable is a valuable quality in any profession.

Rebecca Jones


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