Authorities Wednesday were investigating whether butane canisters were being stored illegally in a three-story commercial building in downtown Los Angeles that was the site of a fire in June.
Firefighters were sent to 203 E. Third St. at 9:19 a.m. Wednesday to conduct a “followup … and located a potentially illegal storage cache of butane canisters, some of which appear(ed) to be off-gassing,” Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement.
A hazardous materials team was sent to investigate, Stewart said.
“LAFD HazMat squad investigated and the situation is deemed `static’ — no immediate life or fire threat,” Stewart said. “The scene will be turned over to L.A. County Dept. of Public Health and the building owner for the proper removal of the canisters.”
On June 8 at about 2 a.m., a fire was reported in the building. Video showed flames coming out of one side of the structure, spreading across the street and igniting tents and debris at a homeless encampment, and what sounded like several small firecracker-like explosions involving what authorities said were “pressurized gas cylinders.”
About 150 firefighters battled the fire for several hours, preventing the flames from spreading to nearby residential buildings. Investigators listed the cause as “undetermined.”
The building was described by the LAFD’s Brian Humphrey as a “century-old 23,790-square-foot, three-story masonry building that housed five businesses.”