State of emergency hoisted on Tinian

Grass fire on Tinian spread, burned typhoon debris that contained materials with toxic chemicals

Jude U. Hofschneider

A major disaster and state of significant emergency was declared on Tinian last Thursday, arising from a grass fire that had spread to a site where typhoon debris that contained toxic chemicals and other e-waste materials had been stored.

Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), who was at the time the acting governor, issued Executive Order 2022-08, saying the fire, which occurred last June 19, had already been contained and extinguished, but it has caused noxious smoke and fumes to drift throughout the neighboring areas, causing a threat to the residents’ health.

In consultation with the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office and other agencies, Hofschneider said he believes a declaration of major disaster and a state of significant emergency is warranted.

Hofschneider authorized Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig to have access, reprogram, or transfer funds from accounts of Executive Branch departments and agencies, including autonomous or independent entities, to fund the containment, mitigation, and remediation of the threat to the health and welfare of people.

“This is an important issue that needs to be addressed immediately, to mitigate the effects of the incident and ensure the health and safety of the people of Tinian,” he said.

Hofschneider has been in communication with Tinian and Aguiguan Mayor Edwin P. Aldan to address the concern.

He said when the grass fire broke out, it grew and spread rapidly until it reached the location where waste and debris from Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018 were being sorted for disposal.

Hofschneider said much of the waste and debris included “white good” waste, e-waste, tires, batteries, and other things that contained “toxic chemicals [that were] dangerous or otherwise unhealthy for humans.”

The acting governor commended the Tinian Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Department of Public Safety, and all the agencies for their response to mitigate the fire.

Hofschneider expressed confidence in the abilities of the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office, the CNMI Office of Planning and Development, and local agencies in prioritizing resources and finding solutions to mitigate the situation.

He also thanked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their partnership in working with the CNMI to address this critical situation.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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