State and local authorities launched a criminal probe after a massive explosion at Smoke Tokes, a headshop distribution warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. Officials are looking at whether chemicals stored on site were responsible for the blast.
Los Angeles Times
- The Smoke Tokes web site advertises a variety of butanes for sale. Butane is a highly explosive chemical used as a solvent to make some cannabis concentrates. It is known for blowing up bootleg labs and leaving people dead or disfigured.
- California issues licenses to companies for "volatile solvent" extraction.
- The cause of the fire has not been determined. The L.A. Times couldn't reach Smoke Tokes' owners.
- Firefighters received a call Saturday evening about a structural fire at the building near Skid Row and Little Tokyo in an area know as "bong row."
- After they arrived on the scene there was "a significant explosion, very high, very wide, rumbling the entire area."
- Another DTLA business called Smoke Tokes had a major fire in 2016. It's not clear if there's a connection.
- Twelve firefighters were injured, several seriously. All are expected to survive.
Bottom line: No matter what details emerge, it's not a good look as the industry tries to capitalize on its "essential" status.