LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Twelve firefighters were injured in a fire and explosion in the Toy District of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday evening.
As of Sunday afternoon, three have been discharged and eight remain hospitalized.
The incident began with a fire that was first reported around 6:26 p.m. on Saturday.
As firefighters were responding to the blaze inside the building at 327 East Boyd Street, the site of a butane honey oil supplier called Smoke Tokes, there was a “significant explosion,” said LAFD Captain Erik Scott.
“After the explosion, the fire absolutely intensified and it shot out 30 feet like a blowtorch right in the path of egress,” Scott said.
The injured firefighters were transported to County USC Medical Center to be treated for burn injuries and smoke inhalation.
Two firefighters were initially put on ventilators and four were sent to the intensive care unit for burns. At last check, there were no remaining firefighters on ventilators. All are expected to survive.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he is praying for the injured, tweeting Saturday night, “Our hearts go out to their loved ones and fellow first responders. We are keeping them in our prayers.”
The LAFD said the heat from the fire was so intense that it melted through helmets and charred some of the fire engines.
There were several emergency response teams at the scene of the fire, including more than 230 firefighters. A medical treatment center was also set up nearby.
Flames and smoke could still be seen coming from the buildings after 7:30 p.m., about an hour after the initial report. LAFD said the fire was knocked down just after 8 p.m.
Capt. Scott speaks highly of Station 9, the station that saw a dozen of its firefighters injured in the blaze.
“Station 9 is one of the prides of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” he said. “They are arguably the busiest fire station in the nation.”
Last year alone, they responded to more than 21,000 emergencies.
Federal agencies, arson investigators and the LAPD Major Crimes Division were all part of the investigation to determine the cause of the fire and if a crime was committed.
Officials are also reviewing documents, permits and security video from the area.
An approximately three-block area has been roped off for the investigation.
The scene is expected to remain active for several more days.