Updated May 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

LA firefighters injured in blaze and explosion at hash oil maker

Los Angeles Firefighters knock down a structure fire at 327 E Boyd St and 3rd street

Firefighters knock down a structure fire after an explosive blaze left multiple firefighters injured in Los Angeles on Saturday. Photo: Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

An explosion and fire at a commercial building in downtown Los Angeles Saturday night has wounded 11 firefighters, the LA Fire Department said in a statement. AP describes the business as a "hash oil manufacturer."

Why it matters: The LAFD said the business, Smoke Tokes Wholesale Distributor, is "reportedly a supplier for those who make butane honey oil. The cause is of great concern to us and is under active investigation." More than 230 firefighters responded following a "mayday" distress call, the department tweeted.

Of note: Per AP, butane is an "odorless gas that easily ignites, and it’s used in the process to extract the high-inducing chemical THC from cannabis to create a highly potent concentrate also known as hash oil. The oil is used in vape pens, edibles, waxes and other products."

The big picture: The fire department said the severity of injuries was not confirmed. But Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted that all of the firefighters were being "treated for their injuries and in stable condition."

  • The LA Fire Department said in its statement that firefighters were attending the fire call-out "when a significant explosion occurred."
  • A mayday call was put out over the radio and additional units attended the Major Emergency incident.
  • SmokeTokes website says it is an "international distributor and wholesaler of smoking and vaping products, and related accessories," selling products including torches and butane, vaporizers and pipes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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