Explosion rocks downtown Los Angeles Arts District

An explosion at a construction site rocked the downtown Los Angeles Arts District on Thursday afternoon.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said the blast occurred about 2:45 p.m. at a building that was under construction. There were no known injuries.

A roofing installation that utilized propane and a pot of tar had exploded at the building, located at 130 South Hewitt St., said LAFD spokeswoman Margaret Stewart. It’s unclear what immediately triggered the blast.

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The explosion was felt across a wide area of the Civic Center, Little Tokyo and the Arts District, with some likening it to an earthquake. 

Black smoke could be seen from the area, and more than 75 firefighters knocked down the fire within 20 minutes. The blaze was confined to the building’s courtyard. 

A woman who lives in an adjacent building said she was on the phone when she heard a boom. She declined to provide her full name.


“The whole building was shaking,” she said. Soon, she saw flames outside her window. 

A security guard at a nearby condo building said the doors of the building vibrated violently, as if a person was pulling on them hard from the other side. 

The fire department said the five-story building is under construction. The area has seen a boom of residential and commercial development in recent years.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

For breaking news in Los Angeles, follow @AngelJennings, @MattHjourno and @CBellantoni.


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