Firefighters battle flames and exploding gas cylinders in downtown L.A. building fire

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

Flames tore through a two-story business in downtown Los Angeles on Monday night, putting firefighters on the defensive as they worked to control the blaze.

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

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

The flames were largely confined to the business Smoke Tokes, a wholesaler and distributor of smoking paraphernalia, according to the LAFD.


The more than 160 firefighters on scene have encountered pressurized gas cylinders that have been exploding amid the inferno, Humphrey said.

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

Firefighters switched to a defensive strategy about 25 minutes after responding to the blaze.

Other buildings in the area, between Little Tokyo and skid row, were initially exposed to the flames. Peter Sanders, an LAFD spokesman, said firefighters worked to contain the blaze and prevent it from spreading.

As of 9:45 p.m., the blaze remained active but firefighters had blocked the fire from reaching other nearby structures, Humphrey said.

It’s unclear what started the fire. No injuries or evacuations were reported.

Throngs of LAFD firetrucks and other emergency responders crowded the streets around the fire.

Twitter: @MattHjourno.


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10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details, including the address of the fire.

8:50 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 8:30 p.m.