11 firefighters injured in EXPLOSION responding to multi-building blaze in Los Angeles

Not less than 11 firefighters have been injured in a blast that happened while they were responding to a massive commercial building fire in downtown Los Angeles. 

Firefighters initially responded to a report of a fire at a one-story commercial building around 6:30pm, and there was “nothing unusual” until the explosion occurred after they entered the building.

The Los Angeles Fire Department immediately issued a major emergency “mayday” call, sending more than 200 others to the scene to contain the blaze that jumped to several neighboring buildings.

Major fire in Little Tokyo/downtown Los Angeles at San Pedro and Third. Dangerously close to Skid Row residents, senior and low income housing. Major smoke screen, ash is raining for blocks. 

“A significant explosion, very high, very wide, rumbling the entire area,” said Erik Scott, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.. The explosion was so powerful that it blackened a fire engine parked across the street and melted the helmets of some firefighters, he said.

The condition of the injured was not immediately clear, as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted: “My thoughts are with our brave @LAFD firefighters.”

Eleven firefighters were receiving treatment for burn injuries, Scott said. All were taken to County-USC Medical Center. At a news conference at the hospital late Saturday night, Mayor Eric Garcetti said three of the firefighters sustained critical but not life-threating injuries. All were expected to survive.

“We’ve been saying for the last two months even more than usual how much we appreciate our medical personnel and first responders,” Garcetti said. “Tonight I’m doubly and deeply grateful for the both of them.”

Scott said more than 240 firefighters had responded to the blaze before it was extinguished shortly after 8 p.m. An initial investigation of the scene identified the business as Smoke Tokes, a warehouse distributor with supplies for butane hash oil, he said. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

“It’s very tough to see our brothers and sisters go through something like this,” Scott said.

He described how several firefighters were inside the building and on the roof fighting the initial blaze when the explosion occurred, causing a tremendous roar that arriving personnel described as sounding like “a freight train or a jet engine.”

A massive ball of flame erupted out of the building, Scott said. Firefighters ran “straight through that ball of flame to get to safety across the street,” he said.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, as well as what exactly was inside the building that caused the blast. 

The fire apparently started at a warehouse belonging to “a supplier for those who make butane honey oil,” better known as cannabis oil, according to LAFD Capt. Erik Scott.

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