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Downtown L.A. warehouse erupts in flames overnight; smoking supplies explode

More than 100 firefighters battled a fire that erupted at a downtown Los Angeles commercial building overnight



Faith E. Pinho
Los Angeles Times

A fire that erupted at a downtown Los Angeles commercial building overnight had charred the three-story structure and burned through the roof early Tuesday as more than 100 firefighters battled the blaze.

The flames ignited at 1:50 a.m. at a 100-year-old building in the 200 block of East 3rd Street that housed at least five businesses, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. At least two of the businesses contained smoking supplies, which caused small explosions during the fire.

No injuries have been reported, LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said. Despite the massive blaze, evacuations of a nearby retirement home and other high-rise apartments were not needed, he said.[0]=AZXoWpTDtDvVtrvOKyiPwgTweEIfPBTOc8feCUcDrOvkEjqiZop-W2XMjGM0EvcvuHcGHHy3Wl8Z4Xkqt7w2ItnsLPQHWpGpgON2gXitFVcNJcRYVVYuMgUbe5wpNSsY4TurQLsxx327HGxRgmnTqBzb&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

More than 90 minutes after the fire began, 150 first responders were working at the scene, according to an LAFD alert. But that number had receded to 78 firefighters by 7:30 a.m.

Humphrey said he expected firefighters would have to stay at the building through the morning to finish battling the fire and then clean up.

Video from the scene showed that the blaze had charred much of the building’s 23,000 square feet. Small canisters from the smoking stores littered the street.

“There may have been other [materials] inside,” Humphrey said, adding that in past incidents, chemicals like butane or nitric acid have caused explosions in fires.

Last year, nearly a dozen firefighters were injured in a fire in downtown L.A. caused by an explosion at a smoke shop.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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