An F-16 crashed at March Reserve Air Force Base in Southern California on Thursday afternoon, hitting a warehouse located right by the runway.
Maj. Perry Covington, a public affairs officer, said the building was on fire, but it was contained by the sprinkler system. The pilot ejected and was OK, Covington said.
There were 12 minor injuries caused by debris in the building, according to Capt. Fernando Herrera, from Cal Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department.
A hazardous materials team will go in the building Thursday night to see if there is anything unsafe to the public and to make sure there is nothing left behind that can cause issues to the local environment and businesses in the area. People and businesses up to 4,000 feet from the building were evacuated, officials said.
It was unclear if the jet was carrying any ordnance.
“Every pilot that flies a fighter aircraft that has an ejection seat has to make that decision before they even start that jet up: ‘When am I going to eject?’ and not to wait too long to know when the airplane is no longer flyable and they need to get out,” said retired Col. Steve Ganyard, former deputy assistant secretary of state and ABC News contributor.
The unit flying this alert mission from the base in Riverside, California, was a combination of pilots and aircraft from California and South Dakota Air National Guard units.
The pilot belongs to the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard and the aircraft belongs to the South Dakota Air National Guard in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.