A massive fire broke out in downtown Los Angeles Saturday evening, touching off an explosion and leaving nearly a dozen firefighters injured.
“There was a significant explosion that caused a mayday report,” Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said in a briefing carried live on Twitter. “This was upgraded to a major emergency category.”
Several firefighters suffered injuries while trying to bring the raging flames under control.
“Tragically, we have 11 firefighters with burn injuries,” Scott said. Their exact conditions were not known.
The fire was initially reported at 327 East Boyd St. just before 6:30 p.m. It started in a single-story commercial building, and quickly spread to other nearby structures.
In a statement shared on Twitter earlier in the evening, the LAFD reported “over 230 firefighters are responding. Firefighters have moved to a defensive posture for fire attack, and a medical branch has been created for treating and transporting injured firefighters.”
Video posted on the NBC4 News Los Angeles website and Twitter feed showed multiple ambulances and fire trucks on the scene.
Flames and thick black smoke could be seen in the footage as fire crews struggled to bring the blaze under control. Streets in the area were blocked off to traffic, and residents were urged to avoid the area.
The fire was knocked out at 8:08 p.m. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation and “is of paramount concern,” Scott said.