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LA Blast Triggers Criminal Investigation

8 firefighters remain hospitalized, 2 in critical condition
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2020 5:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Police and fire investigators launched a criminal probe Sunday into the cause of an explosion at a hash oil manufacturer in downtown Los Angeles that sent firefighters running for their lives, the AP reports. Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's major crimes division were working with the city Fire Department's arson investigators to determine what might have sparked the blast that shot a ball of flames out of the building Saturday night and scorched a fire truck across the street, police spokesman Josh Rubenstein said. "We're in the very early stages of the investigation ... to understand what happened and figure out how to move forward," he said.

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The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was assisting local fire investigators, an agency spokeswoman said. The blast injured a dozen firefighters including some who ran out onto sidewalks, where they tore off burning protective equipment including melted helmets, officials said. "That was one of the worst scenes I've seen," said Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott. Three firefighters were released after spending the night in the hospital, fire department spokesman Nicholas Prange said Sunday. Of the eight that remained hospitalized, two were in critical but stable condition, he said. All were expected to survive. (Read about a horrific explosion at the scene.)


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