Moments ago, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted:
Tonight, 11 @LAFD firefighters were injured battling a blaze in downtown L.A. All of them are being treated for their injuries and in stable condition at this time.
Our hearts go out to their loved ones and fellow first responders. We are keeping them in our prayers.
Tonight, 11 @LAFD firefighters were injured battling a blaze in downtown L.A. All of them are being treated for their injuries and in stable condition at this time. Our hearts go out to their loved ones and fellow first responders. We are keeping them in our prayers. pic.twitter.com/RRoUNPgLBt
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) May 17, 2020
USAToday reports a “significant explosion” at a hash oil manufacturer rocked downtown Los Angeles late Saturday, injuring at least 11 firefighters, authorities said.
Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said one explosion shook the neighborhood around 6:30 p.m. Firefighters inside had to run through a wall of flames he estimated as 30 feet high and wide, and those on the roof scrambled down a ladder that was engulfed in fire.
Scott said people at the scene described the explosion as sounding like a freight train or jet engine. Some of the fleeing firefighters were on fire and tore off their protective equipment and left it on the sidewalk, along with melted helmets, Scott said.
“We know we’re at risk when we go to any emergency, but we never want to see this happen. So we’re hoping that all these firefighters can recover,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange told KTLA.
According to AP, Butane is an odorless gas that easily ignites, and it’s used in the process to extract the high-inducing chemical THC from cannabis plants to create a highly potent concentrate also known as hash oil. The oil is used in vape pens, edibles, waxes and other products.
All 11 firefighters suffered burns ranging from minor to serious. Three were listed as critical condition, and two of them were on ventilators. All were expected to survive.
“The good news is everybody’s going to make it,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference outside the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center where all the injured were treated.
While it was not immediately known what triggered the explosion, Scott said the fire might have originated at Smoke Tokes Warehouse Distributor, a warehouse distributor he described as a maker of “butane honey oil.”