Witness is amazed firefighters survived DTLA fire

A DTLA fire and explosion so horrific one witness says he stopped recording on his cellphone.

Robert Vargas happened to be driving in the area of the Boyd Fire in Downtown LA on Saturday. He's a DTLA resident and renowned artist and muralist.  He says he saw black smoke and drove over to take a look.

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Vargas says the street was largely empty and he was one of the first on the scene to witness firefighters flee from a fireball.

He says buildings blocked the fire so people on the streets just a block or so away couldn't see it.

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Vargas started rolling as firefighters raced down a ladder as a fireball went up around them.  He says, not knowing if they would survive he stopped recording and didn't post his video until he'd learned it was reported that all would survive. He says it was out of respect for the firefighters and their families.

Twelve firefighters were injured when the fire broke out on Saturday at 6:30 pm in a one-story business call Smoke Tokes Warehouse Distributor, a supplier for those who make butane honey oil according to LAFD Capt. Erik Scott.

The address is 327 East Boyd Street in between Little Tokyo and Skid Row.  

Eight LA City fire department firefighters remain hospitalized. Two firefighters are in critical, but stable condition.  

Vargas says he actually heard from one of the firefighters who was on that ladder. He was one who got off quickly and not likely in that four-second video Vargas shot.

Vargas called it a silver lining to hear that the firefighter was okay. Vargas says he had requested the video clip and was home with family.

Vargas is a noted muralist and in the midst of painting a 14-story building wall in Downtown LA called Angelus(Angel-Us).