12 Los Angeles Local 112 Members Injured in Explosion

May 19 • 2020

Twelve Los Angeles Local 112 members are recovering from their injuries after a massive explosion in a downtown Los Angeles, California, warehouse. Eight of them remain at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for treatment.

“Our Local 112 members showed incredible bravery and dedication to duty as they responded to a very dangerous situation,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “The IAFF is prepared to provide any support they need in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

“As Los Angeles City Local 112 is my home local where I am still an active member, this could not have hit closer to home,” says 10th District Vice President Frank Lima. “Fire Station 9 is the busiest station in the nation and I have worked there several times during my career. The fire fighters who work there are always the very best and extremely dedicated to training.”

Lima added. “Local 112 President Escobar and I were together at the hospital immediately after the incident to take care of our members and their families. As always, the IAFF10th District is on scene and ready to do anything to help its fire fighters.”

The fire began on the evening of May 16 at Smoke Tokes, a warehouse distribution center of smoking and vaping producing including flammable items such as butane canisters.

The 12 Los Angeles City members from Station 9 were among those who responded to the fire. Because of its location, Station 9 fire fighters respond to 80-100 calls per day, making it the busiest fire house in the nation.

After arriving, the 12 went inside to conduct an interior attack. As soon as they could feel the interior pressure begin to build, they tried to exit the building. But an explosion occurred before they could get out, causing varying degrees of burn injuries.

One member was treated in the emergency room and released while the other 11 were admitted to the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. Three of those admitted have since been released, but the other eight remain. All are expected to recover; however, some of them may need to stay in the hospital for several weeks or months.

“There were at least a couple of videos made of the incident which show our guys had no other choice but to walk through intense fire to get out of the building,” says Local 112 President Freddy Escobar. “We are thankful that they all survived. Our focus now is to assist them and their families throughout their recovery process.”

The fire is currently being investigated by local law enforcement and fire department investigators. On the federal level, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also involved.

To assist the injured fire fighters, the United Fire Fighters of Los Angeles City Charitable Foundation is collecting funds to directly benefit the injured. Click here to donate or learn more.