Eleven firefighters suffered burn injuries in the incident, which was reported after 6:30 p.m. at a commercial smoke shop near Boyd and San Pedro streets, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
At a press conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti, joined by Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas, said three firefighters are in critical condition and one suffered serious injuries. Their injuries are not life threatening.
Update MAYDAY #StructureFire; INC#1073; 6:26PM; 327 E Boyd St; https://t.co/WjQ6oryhNa; #Downtown; An explosion on scene has caused a MAYDAY with approx 10 firefighters down and multiple buildings on fire. This has been upgraded ... https://t.co/O5FoQxYNhf— LAFD (@LAFD) May 17, 2020
Officials said several firefighters are in the intensive care unit for burns at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and at least two firefighters are on ventilators. One of the injured firefighters will likely need skin grafts.
All of the injured firefighters will be kept at the hospital overnight for observation.
Fire officials said the blaze initially began at the site of a butane honey oil supplier.
Chief Terrazas said upon arrival, the blaze was described as having moderate smoke. The smoke pressure was escalating when firefighters entered the building. They were directed to get out of the building, which is when the explosion or flash occurred.
A Mayday call came over radio, and within minutes, all 11 of the injured firefighters were transferred to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
More than 230 firefighters responded to the blaze. Fire officials said the fire was knocked down just after 8 p.m.
Chief Terrazas said an on-scene investigation has to be completed, which will take several days.