Explosion In Downtown Los Angeles Leaves Several Firefighters In Critical Condition, Sets Buildings On Fire

A picture of downtown Los Angeles.
Mario Tama / Getty Images

An explosion in downtown Los Angeles left several firefighters injured and many buildings on fire late on Saturday, with video showing the dramatic scene as hundreds responded to the blazes sparked across the neighborhood.

As NBC Los Angeles reported, the incident took place in the 300 block of East Boyd Street, an area known as Little Tokyo, with the explosion rocking the area and sending a large cloud of dark smoke into the air. The report noted that approximately 10 firefighters were seriously injured, with the Los Angeles Fire Department saying they were in critical condition.

At least one member of the Los Angeles Police Department may have been injured as well, NBC Los Angeles reported.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a brief statement about the incident, saying he was thinking about the firefighters who were injured and would be seeking more information.

“My thoughts are with our brave @LAFD firefighters,” he tweeted. “Closely tracking this situation as we continue to get more information.”

Live video from the incident showed a massive response, with a number of firetrucks fighting the blazes that were sparked by the explosion. The LAFD said in an update that more than 230 firefighters responded to the explosion, and that they moved into a “defensive posture” for fire attack. A medical branch was also established to treat those injured in the explosion.

The LAFD had not yet reported what exact injuries the firefighters suffered, or if any of the injuries were considered life-threatening. As The Associated Press reported, the department issued a “mayday” call in the wake of the explosion and characterized it as a “major emergency.”

As many noted, the fires were very close to some vulnerable areas of the city, including the Skid Row region that is home to a number of homeless and transient residents, who could be particularly at-risk in the wake of an emergency.

As National Geographic reported, local authorities were already struggling with how to deal with the spread of the coronavirus among homeless people in this area.

It was not immediately clear how the explosion in downtown Los Angeles could affect this population or what it might mean for outreach efforts.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, but it appeared from live video of the incident that the LAFD was bringing the fires under control. The building that first sparked the explosion was described as a one-story commercial building.