FIREBALL ENGULFS LAFD FIREFIGHTERS SENDING ELEVEN TO THE HOSPITAL
On Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 6:26 p.m., the LAFD responded to a reported structure fire at 327 E. Boyd St. in downtown Los Angeles. The first companies arrived on scene within four minutes to find a one-story commercial building with smoke showing. The businesses were not open at the time and firefighters had to force entry with power saws to make access.
They immediately initiated an aggressive interior fire attack with hose lines, and a truck company was sent to the roof to perform vertical ventilation. As firefighting operations continued, the firefighters encountered increased pressurized smoke and heard a rumbling high-pitched sound. Firefighters identified the changing conditions and immediately started exiting the building and the roof as the situation rapidly deteriorated.
Shortly thereafter, a significant explosion created a massive fireball that enveloped the firefighters descending from the roof via an aerial ladder. The searing heat melted helmets, burned through protective coats and hoods and blistered and charred nearby fire apparatus.
A MAYDAY was immediately broadcast over the radio and treatment began on the 11 firefighters that had been caught in the inferno. All of the injured were working at Fire Station 9 on Skid Row, one of the nation’s busiest. Dozens of additional fire and ambulance resources were dispatched to the scene to assist with medical treatment and fire suppression as the blaze continued to spread.
All 11 firefighters were rapidly transported to LAC+USC Medical Center for treatment. A 12th firefighter was later treated and released at the hospital for a minor extremity injury. All 11 burned firefighters were admitted to the hospital with injuries of varying severity. Thankfully, all are expected to survive and as of the morning of Saturday, May 17, three had already been released from the hospital.
At the peak of the incident, more than 230 LAFD firefighters were on scene and the Major Emergency blaze was declared extinguished at 8:08 p.m., one hour and 42 minutes after it was reported. LAFD Arson investigators are working in conjunction with their law enforcement partners to investigate the cause and origin of the fire, as well as the nature of the business at the incident address.
Additional information regarding this incident will be provided in the coming days. Please view LAFD.org/News for updated information.