An explosion in the Little Tokyo area of downtown Los Angeles caused a major fire and injured many firefighters. According to the L.A. Fire Department (LAFD), a fire began at a one-story structure at 327 E Boyd St. Shortly after, as firefighters were responding, the department posted a mayday, indicating that an explosion on scene caused “approx 10 firefighters down and multiple buildings on fire.”
LAFD then added that over 230 firefighters were responding to the incident and they were in a defensive posture. The update added that “a medical branch has been created for treating and transporting injured firefighters.” According to a press conference by LAFD officials, have stated that two of the firefighters are in critical condition, one has serious injuries, and the rest of the 11 injured have moderate injuries.
In a press conference on Saturday night, the LAFD said that the firefighters who arrived at the hospital in critical condition are stable. All 11 firefighters were brought to LAC+USC Medical Center and were treated immediately upon arrival at the burn unit. Officials have said that all firefighters were awake and alert when they came in, and none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening at this time.
Update #StructureFire; INC#1073; 7:05PM; 327 E Boyd St; https://t.co/WjQ6oryhNa; #Downtown; Now, over 230 firefighters are responding. Firefighters have moved to a defensive posture for fire attack, and a medical branch has been … https://t.co/vVG5bQ2wef
— LAFD (@LAFD) May 17, 2020
People Have Been Sharing Photos & Videos of the Fire on Social Media
As soon as the fire and explosion occurred, videos and photos started being posted on social media. Here are some photos and videos of the fire:
Major fire in Little Tokyo/downtown Los Angeles at San Pedro and Third. Dangerously close to Skid Row residents, senior and low income housing. Major smoke screen, ash is raining for blocks. pic.twitter.com/s4coh3xbgq
— sean miura (@seanmiura) May 17, 2020
Fire/explosion in Little Tokyo, LA pic.twitter.com/62C6PaNr3g
— Marilyn Nguyen (@marilynknguyen) May 17, 2020
The below photo shows the smoke billowing over the city at a distance:
Huge fire in Little Tokyo Los Angeles pic.twitter.com/eolKo3xwSi
— Anne Bocci (@annebocci) May 17, 2020
— Brian Landis (@brianjlandis) May 17, 2020
— Celia (@5thandspring) May 17, 2020
— #StayHomeStaySafe (@NafeelTweets) May 17, 2020
The Incident Was First Reported Just Before 6:26 p.m. & the Explosion Occurred Soon After
Firefighters first responded to the scene of the fire at around 6:26 p.m. when the explosion occurred. Even an hour later, smoke and flames could still be seen coming from the building, CBS LA reported. HAZMAT crews were seen on site monitoring the air quality, and residents of the area, which is a few blocks away from Skid Row, were asked to avoid the area.
The building in question was a commercial building home to a butane honey oil supplier called Smoke Tokes Wholesale Distributor. According to a statement by the LAFD, firefighters were responding to the blaze and entered the building to “chase the seat of the fire” when the explosion occurred. The incident was then declared a major emergency, calling in multiple other units.
The LAFD said that knockdown was reached almost two hours after the start of the initial fire. It indicated that “The cause is of great concern to us and is under active investigation.”
The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has tweeted in response to the fire:
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) May 17, 2020
His post reads: “My thoughts are with our brave LAFD firefighters. Closely tracking this situation as we continue to get more information.”
The LAPD tweeted that they were on the scene:
We are on scene at this major fire emergency in Downtown LA, that resulted in an explosion and mayday call, with initial reports of several firefighters injured. Please keep our brave @LAFD firefighters in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/5pW6lk2Tjl
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) May 17, 2020
The tweet reads: “We are on scene at this major fire emergency in Downtown LA, that resulted in an explosion and mayday call, with initial reports of several firefighters injured. Please keep our brave LAFD firefighters in your prayers.”