By: Jess Aloe for the Burlington Free Press 8/6/18
A Vermont Air National Guard hangar undergoing construction to prepare for the arrival of F-35 jets caught fire on Monday.
No planes are currently stored in the hangar, said Lt. Chelsea Clark, the Vermont Air National Guard’s public affairs officer.
The hangar is under the control of contractors who are refitting the building for the new jets, slated to arrive in 2019.
The fire appears to have been sparked by welding operations, Clark said. No one was seriously injured. An investigator is currently assessing the extent of the damage.
The Air Guard does not fly on Mondays, Clark said.
The F-35 basing decision has been controversial. Burlington voters directed their elected officials to request the basing be canceled last spring. South Burlington’s city council also voted to oppose the jets.
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has remained firm in his support for bringing the jets to Vermont. The governor and congressional delegation have also expressed strong support for the F-35s.
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