LAFD Chief Promises Every Fire Station Will Identify Businesses That Store Volatile Chemicals to Ensure They are Storing Safely

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By KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department is promising that every fire station in the city will work to identify businesses similar to the vaping and cannabis supplies wholesaler that went up in flames Saturday night in an incident that injured a dozen firefighters, in an attempt to ensure they are storing dangerous materials safely.

   "Those types of businesses pose a threat to the people who work there, the public that goes there, and firefighters if they have to respond there," Chief Ralph Terrazas said Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

   Fire stations will identify which businesses store volatile chemicals and ensure that they are stored properly, the chief said. Those businesses are required to display a diamond placard alerting emergency personnel that potentially flammable and hazardous materials are inside.

   Smoke Tokes -- the site of Saturday's fire -- did not have such a placard, the chief said. Attempts to contact the owner of Smoke Tokes for comment were unsuccessful.

   Eleven firefighters were initially hospitalized with burn injuries after a "massive fireball" engulfed them during the explosion. Seven have been released.

   The blast occurred about 6:30 p.m. Saturday while firefighters responded to the initial call of a fire in a single-story building at 327 Boyd St., between East Third and Fourth streets, housing Smoke Tokes Warehouse Distributor, "a supplier for those who make butane honey oil," according to LAFD Capt. Erik Scott.

   Firefighters had begun an offensive battle inside the building when there was an explosion and multiple buildings became involved, Scott said.

   Carbon dioxide and butane canisters were found inside the building but it is unknown if they contributed to the explosion, LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange told City News Service.

   On Tuesday, City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez introduced a motion to have the city review its enforcement of the safe handling of combustible materials.

   "My prayers are with these injured firefighters and their colleagues that were deployed to the Boyd Street incident. I wish all a full recovery," said Rodriguez, who is also the chair of the council's Public Safety Committee. "As we've seen with this tragic event and other similar incidents across the nation, the improper storage and use of highly flammable chemicals present a grave danger to our community and we must enhance safety protocols to prevent these incidents from happening again."

   Rodriguez's motion would direct the Los Angeles fire and police departments, the city attorney and the department of building and safety to review the city's investigative and enforcement efforts of hazardous combustible material and provide recommendations to prevent injurious incidents.