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Investigators open criminal probe into LA explosion

Los Angeles Explosion
Posted at 6:50 PM, May 17, 2020

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police and fire investigators have launched a criminal probe into the cause of an explosion at a hash oil manufacturer in Los Angeles that injured a dozen firefighters.

They're trying to determine what might have sparked the blast that shot a ball of flames out of the downtown building Saturday and sent crews running for their lives.

The blast injured a dozen firefighters including some who ran out onto sidewalks, where they tore off their burning protective equipment including melted helmets, officials said.

Eight firefighters remained hospitalized Sunday: two were in critical condition, but all are expected to survive.

A fire captain described the business where the explosion occurred as a maker of “butane honey oil.”

Butane is an odorless gas that is used to extract the chemical THC from cannabis to create a highly potent oil. The oil is used in vape pens, edibles, waxes and other products.

Adam Spiker, executive director of the cannabis industry group Southern California Coalition, said he didn’t know what activities were taking place inside the building. The Associated Press reports, if the business was using butane in cannabis extraction it would be illegal, since the city has never issued a license for that type of operation.