Downtown Los Angeles Explosion Burns Firefighters, Equipment

City of Los Angeles Firefighters were dispatched to a commercial structure fire in the 300 block of East Boyd Street, Los Angeles, California on Saturday at 1826 PT.  The incident on Social Media was listed as the #BoydIncident

Initial reports of this location operating as the Smoke Tokes Warehouse Distributor,  a supplier to those who make butane honey oil was later retracted by the Los Angeles City Fire Department stating they are unsure where the fire started.  This building as referenced in an earlier presser was said to contain a large amount of butane, a highly inflammable chemical.

As firefighters arrived on-scene, they reported smoke showing from a one-story building and were in an offensive strategy. As part of their normal course of fire strategy is to enter the interior of the building when conditions present themselves as favorable and safe for firefighters to enter  – so they went in. Others went to the roof as Roof Operations.

After the Engine 9 crew opened the steel doors, the Officer observed something did not feel right with increased heat at the rear of the structure, and smoke conditions beginning to change –  he ordered everyone out of the building.

As firefighters were exiting,  it was at that time when the explosion occurred.  Reports of 11 firefighters scaling down the aerial ladder off the roof and out the front of the building with their turnout gear on fire.

A MAYDAY was called at 1833 PT indicating at least 10 firefighters were down.  The PIO stated those on-scene could see an explosion that was very high and very wide with rumbling throughout the area. Later, it was released that 11 firefighters with unknown degrees of burn injuries  by the PIO had been burned.

A Medical Group was immediately established for the sole purpose of treating firefighters.  10 ambulances were requested via Dispatch.

All-in-all, there were 230 firefighters that would eventually respond to the scene where four structures, including the fire building were now fully involved.  Conditions of the impacted businesses were said to have suffered blown out windows, hot spots and other significant damage.

One building was said to have pack rat conditions with boxes pushed up against windows, from floor to the ceiling and from the front to the rear. They had difficulties accessing the building. It was determined items would have to be pushed from the interior and away from windows. Multiple plans were created throughout the firefighting operational period.

Resources:

  • AR1 AR9
  • BC1 BC10 BC11 BC12 BC14 BC18 BC2 BC4 BC5 BC9
  • CM21 CM22 CM32
  • E10 E13 E14 E15 E17 E2 E201 E202 E203 E205 E209 E210 E215 E220 E221 E226 E227 E233 E25 E266 E27 E3 E4 E5 E89 E9 E90 EM1 EM11 EM13 EM15 EM17 FS9
  • H1 H3 H4
  • HA1 HA3 HA4
  • HR3
  • RA1 RA10 RA11 RA13 RA14 RA15 RA17 RA2 RA20 RA209 RA21 RA25 RA266 RA27 RA3 RA33 RA4 RA46 RA6 RA66
  • RA803 RA809 RA827 RA9
  • SQ21
  • T1 T10 T15 T2 T20 T21 T26 T27 T3 T33 T5 T66 T9
  • UR27 UR5 UR88
  • CH9; 13 14

Footage Credit | Los Angeles Police Department

Command broadcasted several times for members to exit the fire ground who were not engaged directly in firefighting operations to pull back upon recommendation of the Safety Officer. This is now being treated as a crime scene.

At the evening presser, it has been stated the cause is unknown and under active investigation. Only two questions were allowed to be asked at the time of the presser.

Significant events

  • Multiple explosions
  • 230 firefighters with equipment responded
  • MAYDAY called
  • 11 injured firefighters
  • 1 aerial truck thrown to the roof
  • 1 fire truck seriously charred
  • Unknown cause
  • Arson investigating

Firefighters  succesfully knocked down the fire at 2008 hours PT.

All 11 firefighters were transported to County USC Hospital, the only regional burn and trauma center in the area.   An evening presser at 2130 hours PT from the City Mayor, LAFD Medical Director and several doctors.  Here is a recap:

  • 11 firefighters transported to County USC being treated
  • 4 have significant burns and in the Burn ICU
  • 2 are on ventilators due to swelling of their airways
  • 5 others have varying burns from minor, to moderate, to serious
  • Burns are to some of their arms, back, ears, hands
  • All 11 were awake and alert upon arrival
  • Some being monitored for chemical inhalation
  • All are said will make it
  • Could have been much worse than it wa

Fire Investigation

  • On-scene investigation going on right now
  • More indepth on-scene investigation to LAFD and throughout region
  • Arson Unit investigating

Mental Health

  • Firefighters on-scene, within own agency traumatized
  • Mental Health and Well-Being counselors at Station 9 and at County USC available to firefighters, families
  • FF families are being taken care by IAFF Union at hospital and for housing

We are saddened by this incident and hearts are broken while those who have been taking care of the sick, injured and distressed, they are in our prayers and thoughts during this difficult time. Families, we are also thinking of you and sending our strength your way. – LR Swenson

For those who seek out Mental Health options, please contact our friends as SafeCallNow.org, a non-profit organization specializing as a 24-hour confidential 24-hour crisis referral service for public safety members, emergency services members and their families nationwide.  They are only a phone call away – #206.459.3020 or you can find out more by visiting their website at htps://safecallnow.org/

 

(c) 2020 NW Fire Blog – Updated 5/16/2020 2240 PT

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