Five Firefighters Injured At Blaze in Downtown L.A. Industrial Building Housing Cannabis Operation

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Five firefighters were injured Saturday morning in downtown Los Angeles, when fire tore through an industrial building housing a non-permitted cannabis operation.

The Los Angeles Fire Department received a 9-1-1 call at 8:00 AM on March 9, 2024, reporting smoke at 1400 East Newton Street in the Central Industrial District of downtown Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find fire through the roof of a 9,100 square foot two-story industrial building.

As first arriving LAFD crews forced entry and commenced their initial attack on the flames, a sudden and unexpected shift of wind at the rear of the structure enveloped five firefighters in a caustic mist - later determined to be sulfuric acid, that caused them to experience a burning sensation to their faces and extremities, and in at least one case, respiratory irritation.

Pursuant to protocol, the five firefighters, without additional medical complaints, were taken to an area hospital in fair condition for initial medical evaluation before being released to secondary care.

It took 145 LAFD responders under the command of Assistant Chief Melford Beard, just 56 minutes of largely defensive operations to fully extinguish flames that heavily damaged the 69-year-old brick structure.

With witnesses expressing belief that one or more persons may have been within the building when the fire erupted, a pair of LAFD cadaver detection canine teams were called to methodically search the building. Their multi-hour effort yielded no discovery of human remains.

No other civilian or firefighter injuries were reported, and no escalating or off-site hazards were identified.

The five injured firefighters are all expected to return to duty.

Monetary loss from the blaze is still being tabulated. The cause of the major emergency fire remains under investigation.


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