An explosion in downtown Los Angeles on May 16 injured 12 firefighters after they responded to a fire at a cannabis oil factory. Over 230 firefighters in total responded to the incident after a “mayday” call was put out when first responders arrived at the scene to find firefighters retreating from the building on fire and suffering from severe burns.
The 12 firefighters had been responding to a blaze which caused an explosion at around 18:30 local time. All 12 firefighters were taken to hospital with four being sent to a burns intensive care unit, two placed on ventilators due to respiratory problems, and five others treated for a variety of burns. Officials later said that all 12 firefighters’ injuries are not life threatening.
The fire started at a small commercial building in the city’s Toy District before spreading to a number of nearby buildings. The LA fire department’s mayday call was triggered which meant a firefighter was missing, down or trapped. The fire was classed as a major emergency as over 230 firefighters battled the blaze.
A fire official said that the building where the fire originated was a warehouse belonging to SmokeTokes, a cannabis oil factory where the flammable gas butane is used to extract the chemical THC from cannabis plants to create “hash oil”. Hash oil is used in products such as vapes, edibles, and waxes.
Several butane cannisters were found in the street outside of the building following the explosion. An investigation is underway to find the cause of the blast.