The Los Angeles Fire Department has no record of ever inspecting a downtown building where an explosion severely burned 11 firefighters earlier this year, and the city’s top fire official acknowledged that an inspection might have led to the seizure of some of the chemicals that fueled the blast.
The business address for Smoke Tokes, a Boyd Street retailer that stored large quantities of butane for sale before it burst into flames May 16, “was not found in the LAFD fire prevention database, and records of inspection were never completed,” according to a fire department report made public earlier this year.
It is unclear if the fire department has ever inspected the building, which was constructed in 1999, according to city records. The fire prevention database is used to generate lists of addresses to which individual firehouses need to send personnel for inspections.
Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said Smoke Tokes would have required an annual visit from a fire inspector, and given the large quantities of butane and nitrous oxide found in the building, it did not appear that it had been inspected in the period before the fire. Terrazas said an inspection would have likely led to the seizure of many of the flammable materials that fed the 30-foot fireball that shot into the sky over downtown.
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