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Navy OKs Release of Holiday Toys

Gifts for needy children, being held at former El Toro base, are free of contamination.

November 08, 2000|H.G. REZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tests showed that about 100,000 Christmas toys quarantined in a warehouse at the former El Toro Marine base are not contaminated with radiation or asbestos, the Navy said Tuesday.

The gifts, left over from last year's toy drives by a coalition of community groups, are intended to be distributed to needy children this holiday season. However, fear of contamination caused the Navy to keep them locked up until tests showed they were safe to distribute.

Scott Mather, spokesman for St. Vincent de Paul Society, said the social services agency, which owns some of the toys, had not been notified of the test results. Mather welcomed the news but said he did not know when the gifts would be picked up.

Orange County officials, who first alerted the Navy to the possibility of contamination in August, were unavailable for comment. Several county agencies participate in the toy drives.

Although the Navy turned over the El Toro Marine base to the county during the summer, military officials refused to allow anybody in the warehouse where the toys were stored until testing determined whether the gifts were contaminated.

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