An explosion in downtown Los Angeles injured at least 11 firefighters on Saturday. Multiple buildings were also on fire due to the explosion. More than 200 firefighters are said to be on the scene fighting the fire.
The Los Angeles Fire Department issued May Day just before 6.30 PM on Saturday after the fire was reported. The LAFD said that blast was reported while the firefighters were responding to a fire in 327 E. Boyd St.
The LAFD Captain Erik Scott told a press conference that the fire is said to have started from Smoke Tokes warehouse distributor, a business that seems to be a supplier for those who make butane honey oil.
"As firefighters were making their entry in and finding the seat of the fire, there was a significant explosion," said Scott during the press conference. There has been no additional information about the firefighters' condition from the explosion.
According to the Daily Mail, the condition of two of the firefighters was critical.
Burning Smoke Before Loud Explosion
Videos showed the dark plumes of smoke rising above the buildings while some buildings were clearly on fire. After the fire department issued a mayday call on the incident the fire spread to several of the nearby buildings. Around 7.15 PM the fire was largely under control.
A medical team was on the scene treating the firefighters and transporting the injured to hospitals.
Bystanders told the news media that people were able to smell the air filled with smoke before the explosion took place in Little Tokyo. According to LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange the firefighters responding to the fire faced a difficult situation as they could not enter the building because of the fire. The firemen were reported to be pouring water on the flame to try to get inside the buildings.
"We're always worried about a secondary explosion, we don't know what caused the first one and we're trying to avoid this incident becoming even worse if the second one does happen," Prange told KTLA.
It is unclear to the officials what set off the fire and the explosion or whether there were any hazardous materials involved in the fire. The hazmat team has responded to the scene. People in the area were requested to find a shelter. Multiple roads in the region have been closed off as firefighters responded to the scene.
According to Scott, the incident took place in a butane honey oil supplier's business. To make the hash oil there is the involvement of the extraction of high-inducing chemical THC from cannabis plants. Butane is also a flammable material. The oil is said to be used in vape pens, edibles, waxes and other products.