Criminal probe into LA downtown explosion at a hash oil manufacturer that set fire to multiple buildings, severely injuring 11 firefighters has begun. The detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department (crimes division), city fire department (arson investigators) with the help of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are working on the case.

The officers concerned will ascertain the cause of the explosion and said that it was too early to speculate the cause. The fire spread and explosion occurred at a warehouse named 'SmokeTokes'. The warehouse is known as a supplier for makers of butane honey oil. The oil is used to extract the high-inducing chemical THC from cannabis. It is used to manufacture vape pens, edibles, waxes. This oil does not have any odor but easily catches fire.

7000 Products On Sale In 'One-stop Smoke Shop'?

SmokeTokes also advertised for various products including puff bars, pipes, dab tools, vaporizers, torches and butane, and cartridges. The website states that SmokeTokes is an international distributor and wholesaler of smoking and vaping products, and related accessories. It has been in business since 2009 and has a collection of 7,000 products and claims to be a "one-stop smoke shop" in Southern California.

LA explosion
An explosion in LA downtown building injured 11 firefighters on Saturday. YouTube screengrab

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson Nicholas Prange said that in the preliminary probe, carbon dioxide and butane canisters were found inside the building.

A major fire was reported back in 2016 at a store called SmokeTokes that also has an address of the same locality. The incident is said to have been so intense that it needed 160 fire extinguishers to douse the fire. Even during this incident, firefighters experienced gas cylinders exploding in the fire. However, it is not known if both the companies are the same or just have identical names.

Firefighters Out Of Danger, Four Discharged From Hospital

Currently, the health of the three firefighters is said to be better and they have been discharged from the hospital. The two who were in a critical condition are said to be stable. According to Prange, 12 firefighters were injured, however, one of them only had minor injuries and was discharged the same day.

On hearing the news of the explosion, at least 200 firefighters rushed to the spot with rescue vehicles. The 12 firefighters who were caught in the fire and explosion were seen throwing off their protective gear including metal helmets that were melting away. With the arrival of more firefighters the fire was doused within an hour. The exact cause for the explosion will be out after a thorough probe.