An explosion that injured 12 firefighters in downtown Los Angeles remains under investigation Sunday, but officials said it appeared to have caught fire in a warehouse that had supplies for making marijuana concentrate.
The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. Saturday near San Pedro and the third streets of Little Tokyo in a company called Smoke Tokes, where teams found small bottles of butane inside and outside the one-story warehouse, said the LAFD fire chief, Ralph Terrazas.
The company’s website describes the company as a distributor and wholesaler of smoking and vaping products. The warehouse appeared to have supplies for manufacturers of butane honey oil, according to the fire department.
Firefighters who responded to the initial fire attempted to leave as smoke pressure rose inside the building, said Terrazas. But an explosion occurred, injuring 12 firefighters.
Crew members transported to USC County Los Angeles Medical Center – four of them were sent to an intensive care unit for burns and two placed on ventilators due to the inhalation of overheated gas , said the attending physician, Dr. Marc Eckstein, on Saturday evening. The other firefighters suffered minor to very severe burns to the upper limbs, the doctor added.
Hospital officials expect them to “get away with it,” said Eckstein.
The fire department previously reported that 11 firefighters were injured in the incident, but later said that a 12th crew member was treated for minor extremity injury in an emergency room and released on Saturday evening.
Officials said on Sunday morning that three firefighters had been released while eight were still hospitalized, two of whom were in critical but stable condition.
Authorities have not reported any other injuries.
The incident triggered a Mayday call and drew more than 230 firefighters who worked to put out the fire for nearly two hours, the fire department said.
People nearby heard the roar of the explosion, which sent flames and black smoke into the air, visible for miles.
Many have posted images of the incident on social media. A video showed firefighters descending a ladder as flames raged near them.
The next morning, the crews remained on the scene while the probe continued.
“We are very concerned about the cause …” said the fire department.
Captain Erik Scott described the terrible consequences of the explosion on Sunday: a charred fire truck 30 to 40 feet from the building, holes burned through firefighters’ equipment and helmets melted.
“It could have been worse,” said Scott.
Suggest a correction