‘Small explosions’ heard from commercial building fire in downtown LA

Fire authorities said "small explosions" could be heard when a fire ripped through a three-story commercial building in downtown Los Angeles early Tuesday morning. 

Officials later determined butane canisters were causing the loud noises and that at least two smoke shops were located inside the building. 

The fire ignited around 2 a.m. in the 200 block of Third Street and a crew of 150 firefighters from the Los Angeles Fire Department was sent to knock down the flames.

 A homeless encampment across the street was also set on fire. 

Firefighters do not believe anyone was inside the building and had a heightened sense of awareness as the firefight was eerily similar to the Boyd Street fire last May. In last summer’s fire, 12 firefighters were hurt, including four that were critically injured. 

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With the similarities, firefighters took a defensive approach and did not send any firefighters inside the brick building that was built before 1933, indicating the building had walls that would easily collapse.

A roof and floor collapse were reported in the fire.

"When we arrived on scene, we quickly were able to see there was evidence of an explosion and rolling steel doors that were pushed outward, canisters that were being strewed across the street going city blocks very similar to the incident that happened on Boyd Street that tragically injured four of our firefighters," said LAFD Capt. Erik Scott.

Two other buildings are located adjacent to the burning building, including a retirement home. However, officials determined they did not need to evacuate. 

No injuries were reported and the fire was knocked down by 6:30 a.m. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.