Boyd Street Explosion
On Saturday, May 16, 2020, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the LAFD responded to a structure fire near the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. The first arriving firefighters encountered a one-story commercial building with light, intermittent smoke escaping from the top of two closed rolling steel doors.
The first members on scene secured a water supply, forced entry into the building, deployed hand-held hose lines, laddered the building, and began to attack the fire. The business, which was closed at the time, was operating as a wholesale distributor to dispensaries and smoke shops.
Access to the building was delayed due to the excessive amount of stored items blocking the entry point. Once inside, conditions quickly worsened over the next several minutes. Initially, firefighters described a notable change in smoke conditions followed by a rapidly increasing “jet-like” sound, which accompanied escalating “popping-like” noises.
Deteriorating conditions forced firefighters to swiftly retreat off of the roof and out of the building. As they began their escape, a large volume of smoke ignited, immediately followed by an eruption of flames from the front of the building. The flames burst across the street and out of the rear portion of the roof.
As the “mayday” calls echoed across the radio, the catastrophic explosion engulfed members descending an aerial ladder and inside the building. Twelve firefighters were injured.
In the moments that followed, injured firefighters along with members working in the immediate area rushed to help those seriously hurt and remove Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the most critically burned. The burned firefighters were triaged and loaded into awaiting ambulances.
A total of 12 members involved in the Boyd St. incident are being honored for their actions and what they endured during this unprecedented event. Just as importantly, these firefighters are being recognized for their unwavering support and commitment to each other, and their resolute determination to persevere and return to duty.
LETTER OF SPECIAL COMMENDATION
• Firefighter/Paramedic Jose Carreon
• Firefighter Carlos Cativo
• Firefighter Jacob Gonzalez
• Apparatus Operator Garrett Lew
• Emergency Incident Technician Marcus Meza
• Firefighter Ian Moore
• Firefighter/Paramedic John Norton
• Captain Lawrence Salas
• Firefighter/Paramedic Sergio Saenz
• Firefighter Daniel Stalie
FIRE CHIEF’S SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
• Engineer Scott Brennan
• Captain Ed Barkley
• Firefighter Nick Estrada
• Firefighter/Paramedic Kenneth Fraser
• Firefighter/Paramedic Joseph Giesregen
• Firefighter/Paramedic Stephen Osterberg
• Firefighter/Paramedic Ryan Ramirez
• Firefighter/Paramedic Cameron Richards
• Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Tom
• Engineer Mark Tostado