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Monday, May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020
In this screen grab from video provided by Sean Miura, flames from an explosion are seen Saturday, May 16, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Associated Press)

A fire and explosion at a hash oil manufacturer in the Toy District of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday evening left at least 11 firefighters injured, according to the city's Fire Department.

The firefighters had gone inside a building and climbed onto the roof, trying to knock down the blaze -- but had to run for their lives when a ball of flame shot out and scorched a fire truck parked across the street.

All 11 responders suffered burn injuries and were taken to a hospital, three of them in critical condition, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott. All of the firefighters are expected to survive, he added.

"There was a significant explosion that caused a mayday report. This was upgraded to a major emergency category," Scott told reporters in a Saturday evening news conference. "The good news is everybody's going to make it."

Firefighters got to the scene, just east of the city's Financial District, within minutes around 6:26 p.m. in the 300 block of E. Boyd St.and had the fire extinguished just over two hours later, Scott said.

After the explosion, firefighters at the scene immediately called for additional help.

In all, more than 230 firefighters responded, FOX 11 of Los Angeles reported.

Many of those who remained at the scene -- unaware of the seriousness of their colleagues' injuries -- were traumatized by what had transpired, Terrazas said.

“You can imagine the amount of emotional stress," he said.

Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said one of the firefighters inside the building thought things didn't seem right — the pressure from the smoke and heat coming from the rear of the building were increasing. He directed everyone to get out, and as they quickly started exiting the building as it was rocked by the explosion.

At one point, numerous stretchers were seen lined up in the street outside the building and helicopter crews were seen atop a nearby building, apparently planning to transport the injured to hospitals.

The blaze spread to some surrounding buildings, KTLA-TV of Los Angeles reported.

Both Los Angees Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Gov. Gavin Newsom posted messages of support for the firefighters on Twitter.

"My thoughts are with our brave @LAFD firefighters," Garcetti wrote. "Closely tracking this situation as we continue to get more information."

"Grateful for the brave firefighters and first responders on the scene battling these flames tonight," Newsom wrote.