Businesses survey damage after Smoke Tokes blaze in downtown L.A.

The fire broke out in the 300 block of East 3rd Street.
(Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

At San Pedro and Third streets Tuesday, businesses tried to get back to normal, while some coped with damage from a fire that tore through a two-story business the night before in downtown Los Angeles.

The fire broke out about 8 p.m. Monday in the 300 block of East 3rd Street, said Brian Humphrey, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fire burned in the second floor of a two-story building. Aerial footage from TV news stations showed flames pushing through the building’s roof and engulfing the top of the structure.


It took more than 160 firefighters about two hours to put out the blaze, with the flames largely confined to the business Smoke Tokes, a wholesaler and distributor of smoking paraphernalia, according to the LAFD.

Firefighters encountered pressurized gas cylinders that exploded amid the inferno, fire officials said.

“It was a tricky fire for us,” LAFD Battalion Chief Mark Curry said Tuesday. “We had multiple explosions going off inside the fire while it was burning due to the butane containers releasing.”

Firefighters battle a blaze at a two-story business on South San Pedro Street in downtown Los Angeles.

The building that houses Smoke Tokes has been red-tagged, or deemed unsafe for entry, fire officials said. Because of water damage, a few nearby businesses were yellow-tagged, meaning occupants could enter the building to retrieve belongings.

On Tuesday, workers repaired doors broken during the firefight, while arson investigators made their way around the building.


Because of the amount of inventory inside the business, tractor units will be used to pull everything out, Curry said.

“Once they get all that stuff out, my arson investigators can come in and try and determine a cause,” he said.

No injuries or evacuations were reported during the fire.

Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

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