A giant fire that broke out in Los Angeles on May 16th left numerous firefighters injured. When multiple buildings in Toy District got engulfed in flames, more than 100 first responders arrived at the scene, and 11 of them were later hospitalized with burn injuries.
While they all arrived at the hospital awake and alert, two firefighters were put on ventilators due to inhaling superheated gases and four were sent to the intensive care unit for burns. Most of the burns were on their upper extremities, reports NBC4 News.
All the hospitalized firefighters were from Engine №9. They are stable at this time and will remain at the facility overnight. Dr. Marc Eckstein, medical director and physician for the Los Angeles Fire Department says that their lives are not in immediate danger. “The good news is that everybody is going to make it, but we have a lot of firefighters who are shaken up,” quotes NBC4 News.
The LAFD Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said that the injured firefighters sent the “mayday” call from inside one of the buildings after realizing they would not be able to escape the imminent explosion. Their fire engine parked outside was charred, and the aerial ladder damaged. The firefighters reportedly climbed down with their coats on fire.
Terrazas told NBC4 News that “mayday” call was “the kind of call I always dread,” and that many physically unharmed firefighters were left traumatized by the accident. “When one of your own is injured… you can imagine the amount of mental stress,” he said.
The fire started around 3 a.m. inside a building of Smoke Totes Warehouse distributor, “a supplier for those that make butane honey oil,” said Erik Scott, a public information officer for the LAFD. It quickly spread to several buildings nearby. The explosion occurred around 7 a.m. The eyewitnesses described it as mushroom-like, reports The Guardian.
The butane honey (or hash) oil business deals with flammable gas and making the oil involves extracting THC from cannabis plants. Small butane canisters were later found on the street and the incident remains under investigation.