Explosion and Fire in Downtown Los Angeles – 11 Firefighters Injured
A major fire in downtown Los Angeles near the Little Tokyo district left 11 firefighters injured. The fire broke out in a hash oil factory. The LAFD issued a MAYDAY alert when the injuries happened after an explosion rocked the building as the firefighters were attempting to get out of the blaze. The flames caused numerous fires in surrounding buildings (LA Times).
The Associated Press reported:
“An explosion Saturday at a hash oil manufacturer in downtown Los Angeles injured 11 firefighters who had gone inside and on the roof to try to knock down a fire and then had to run for their lives when a ball of flames shot out the building and scorched a fire truck across the street.
Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said “one significant explosion” shook the neighborhood around 6:30 p.m. Firefighters inside had to run through a wall of flames he estimated as 30 feet high and wide, and those on the roof scrambled down a ladder that was engulfed in fire.
Scott said people at the scene described the explosion as sounding like a freight train or jet engine. Some of the fleeing firefighters were on fire and tore off their protective equipment and left it on the sidewalk, along with melted helmets, Scott said.
“This was one of the worst scenes I’ve seen,” he said.
All 11 firefighters suffered burns ranging from minor to serious. Three were listed as critical condition, and two of them were on ventilators. All were expected to survive.”
Eleven firefighters a injured, three of them critically, in downtown Los Angeles when a fire in a commercial smoke shop sparks a major explosion and spreads to nearby structures https://t.co/U7fjNFKrEU pic.twitter.com/l0VpAXoTRx
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 17, 2020
BREAKING: At least 10 firefighters "down," multiple buildings on fire after explosion in downtown Los Angeles pic.twitter.com/C23f6ausYq
— BNO News (@BNONews) May 17, 2020
11 firefighters were injured in an explosion in Downtown Los Angeles earlier this evening. Here's what we know: https://t.co/vdaJ0QEUCi
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 17, 2020
When the firefighters first arrived, there was “light to moderate” smoke coming from the building, so they deployed with some going inside and some going to the roof, which is standard procedure for “knocking down the fire.” But one of the first responders inside the building felt something was wrong: the pressure from the heat and smoke were increasing. He immediately ordered everyone out…but as they “ran for their lives,” the explosion rocked the building as a wall of flames injured 11 of them.
The firefighters on the roof climbed down ladders with their protective coats on fire. Even the seat in one of the fire engines across the street was destroyed. The Fire Chief said it could have been “worse.”
At least 230 firefighters responded to the report of the explosion.
SmokeTokes in downtown LA
The building was a warehouse for SmokeTokes, a company that uses butane to extract THC from marijuana to produce “butane honey oil.” The oil is a strong product used in numerous products, including food items and vaping pens. Reports stated that the firefighters did see small canisters of butane in the building when they went inside.
Featured photo: screenshot via Twitter video