A large explosion at a commercial building in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday evening drew hundreds of firefighters to the scene and injured at least 11 of them, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
They arrived at a commercial building on East Boyd Street in an area near Little Tokyo where smoke had been seen at around 6:30 p.m.
The blaze quickly turned into a major conflagration after the explosion, which left “multiple buildings on fire,” the department said.
A “mayday” alert was issued, and the fire department said that more than 230 firefighters had been called to the scene and that “a medical branch has been created for treating and transporting injured firefighters.”
On social media, videos and images show thick smoke, visible for miles, rising into the air.
On Twitter, the office of Eric M. Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, said all 11 of the injured firefighters were receiving treatment and were in stable condition.
Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, also on Twitter, said he was “grateful for the brave firefighters and first responders on the scene battling these flames tonight.”
The building on East Boyd Street was a “relatively small warehouse-type building” with “heavy storage inside of it,” said David Ortiz, a spokesman with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
It was home to SmokeTokes Wholesale Distributor, the fire department said. The department described the company as a supplier for manufacturers of butane honey oil, a street name for marijuana concentrate. On its website, the company says it is a distributor and wholesaler of smoking and vaping products. Calls to the phone numbers listed there rang unanswered.
The fire took place in a downtown district not far from Skid Row and the heart of Little Tokyo.
The area is rapidly gentrifying — a mix of senior housing, bars and restaurants, homeless encampments, wholesalers and small industrial facilities.
Jill Cowan contributed reporting from Los Angeles.