Ten firefighters have been injured and multiple buildings are ablaze after a massive explosion in downtown Los Angeles, officials have said.
The explosion happened at around 6:30pm, while firefighters were already responding to a blaze at a one-story commercial building on East Boyd St, KTLA5 reported.
Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Nicholas Prange said the firefighters entered the building, and there was nothing unusual until the explosion occurred.
The fire has resulted in a massive response by the LA Fire Department with 230 firefighters now at the scene.
Video showed large plumes of smoke billowing over the area and flames shooting up into the sky from one of the buildings.
The department issued a ‘mayday’ call and characterized the incident as a ‘major emergency.’ By about 7:15 p.m. the fire appeared largely under control.
The condition of the injured was not immediately known. News helicopters showed dozens of fire trucks at the scene.
As firefighters aimed hoses at the long-slung building where the explosion occurred, others could be seen standing next to gurneys that had been readied for the injured.
The blaze occurred very close to Skid Row residents where many homeless people are camped out on the streets living close to senior and low income housing.
‘We know we’re at risk when we go to any emergency, but we never want to see this happen. So we’re hoping that all these firefighters can recover,’ Prange from the LAFD said.
‘We’re always worried about a secondary explosion, we don’t know what caused the first one and we’re trying to avoid this incident becoming even worse if the second one does happen,’ Prange told KTLA.
The department upgraded the incident to ‘ a major emergency’ with the firefighters going into defensive mode as they battled the flames, LAFD said at 7pm.
Firefighters were seen pouring water on the flames from outside, unable to go inside the burning buildings.
At one point, firefighters attempted to put out the fire and aimed their hoses from the roof of an adjacent building.
‘A medical branch has been created for treating and transporting injured firefighters,’ LAFD said.
No information was available on the conditions of the firefighters or the nature of the ten who were injured.
It was not immediately known what type of business was in the building or what caused the explosion in the first place.
The LAFD urged people in the area to find a way to shelter from the smoke.
In a tweet, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, ‘My thoughts are with our brave LAFD firefighters. Closely tracking this situation as we continue to get more information.’
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Source: Daily Mail