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An explosion that injured 12 firefighters in downtown Los Angeles remains under investigation Sunday, but officials said it appeared to have ignited at a warehouse that had supplies to manufacture marijuana concentrate.
The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. Saturday near San Pedro and Third streets in Little Tokyo at a business called Smoke Tokes, where crews found small butane canisters inside and outside the one-story warehouse, LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said.
The company website describes the business 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 blaze tried to leave as smoke pressure built inside the building, Terrazas said. But an explosion occurred, injuring 12 firefighters.
They were getting off the roof for rapid change of deteriorating conditions ￼￼and this … wow Wishing a speedy recovery for the 11 firemen that were burned yesterday and injured yesterday.
Posted by Adam James Mills on Sunday, May 17, 2020
“After, on the street you could see the firefighters’ protective equipment had been pulled off — coats burned, parts of helmets melted,” he said. “The fire truck parked across the street had char on it. The seats in the truck began to burn.”
Witnesses said some of the firefighters’ coats were on fire as they escaped, LAFD said.
Four were taken to the Burn Intensive Care Center at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, LAFD Medical Director Dr. Marc Eckstein said.
He said two firefighters were put on ventilators “to protect their airway, which showed some early degree of swelling from inhalation of the super-heated gases.”
“Butane a highly flammable colorless gas, and there was apparently an abundance of it inside,” Scott said.
Posted by Los Angeles Fire Department on Saturday, May 16, 2020