Deadly Explosion & Fire In Downtown LA : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Tuesday, 6 July 1999 19:20 (GMT), (UPI Spotlight)

One Dead, Four Hurt in Produce Fire

LOS ANGELES, July 6 (UPI) - Firefighters say at least one person has been killed and four others hurt (Tuesday) in a deadly explosion and fire that rocked a produce warehouse in downtown Los Angeles.

About 100 firefighters were battling the blaze, which sent clouds of smoke billowing into the sky.
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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, July 06, 1999


There is a very large downtown LA central market where the public can walk in and buy any kind of produce at bargain prices. There are produce sellers in a huge semi-open structure featuring an amazing conglomeration of farmer stands hawking every growable product under the sun. We used to shop there in the heat of summer to get the juiciest fattest mangos at 25" each.

Is this what is burning? Michael Taylor, is it on your TV now?

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, July 06, 1999.

Not to ignore this incident, but so what? This is an everyday occurrence and has no bearing on the Y2K issues.

-- No (, July 06, 1999.

A&L, I watched it on local news coverage this morning. Very strange that this would occur in a produce warehouse. Speculation by fire department person was that perhaps it was due to a propane tank mishap. I dunno, sounds strange.

As for news not reported widely...

On late evening of July 4 a "chemical bomb" exploded only a few miles from me in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles. This device was "homemade" and resulted in watery eyes, burning throats, nausia.

This is me reporting this. No further details available.

By the way, had a blast on the 4th. Son loved the fireworks!

Mike ================================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, July 06, 1999.


An Explosion And Fire In Downtown Los Angeles

One person is dead and four others are injured when an explosion and fire in the downtwon area of Los Angeles sends a huge plume of smoke up over the area.

About 100 firefighters were sent to 1117 S. San Pedro St. after the fire was reported at 10:57 a.m., said Bob Collis of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Firefighters appeared to have gained the upper hand on the fire after about an hour, but were still working to drown the stubborn flames, Collis said.

The fire caused much of the roof of the single-story, roughly 100-by-50- foot building, to collapse.

Collis said one person died, a man was critically burned, and three other people suffered lesser injuries.

ABC7 Eyewitness News reported that a man who heard the blast ran in, helped move a forklift powered by propane, then pulled one man out from under some debris and evacuated him from the building.

Firefighters also cleared the immediate area of people as crews worked to prevent the flames from spreading to adjacent businesses. Most of the firefighting had to be done from outside the building at first, due to the instability of the roof, officials said.

Capt. Steve Ruda said the source of the explosion is under investigation, but it may have involved the propane used to power equipment used inside the business.

A city Urban Search And Rescue team, outfitted with specialized equipment, was sent to the scene to help look for other possible casualties.

Ruda said it was unclear if there were other injuries, but did say no firefighters were hurt.

Propane, fires, quick-spread risk, 100 firemen for 1 incident while infrastructure up, increase in explosion/fire incidents, increase in reports of back-generators failing, keeping a pulse on these events, watching to see what determining cause is ...

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, July 06, 1999.

Michael, thank you, zee rock! Glad you're OK thru thick air & thin. The satisfaction of instant reporting! :-)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, July 06, 1999.

7/6/99 -- 4:33 PM

One killed, five injured in blast, fire at LA produce building

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An explosion and fire destroyed a fruit warehouse downtown Tuesday, killing one person and injuring five others.

Deputy Fire Chief Bob Neamy said the cause of the blast was under investigation. The business used a flammable ripening agent on bananas and other fruit, but there were also reports of a propane leak, he said.

The blast happened just before 11 a.m., and firefighters battled the flames for more than an hour, pouring water through the collapsed roof.

The unidentified dead person was found in the burned building. One victim was hospitalized with serious burns.

The busiest time in the produce district is in the early morning hours. Most work is typically wrapped up by late morning.

"The business used a flammable ripening agent on bananas and other fruit ... " ???

Scrub those fruits clean before eating! Gotta start going to the Saturday Organic Farmer's Markets more.

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, July 06, 1999.

Probably squirted the "ripening agent" on the food, then let it subsequently continue to "process itself" chemically - forget what the chemical is - don't think it is propane, but is one of the other aromatic hydrcarbons.

Can't washh it off once it is ssoaked in. But it is a natural part of the fruit - like citric acid (acetic acid) in oranges - it is a man-made equal to a natural agent alrteady there. Jus tmore concentrated by spraying on, rather than naturally fementing or getting created internally over time ....

By the way, expect many thousand more of these if people imporperly try to heat homes with propane and other "unusual" fuels next winter. It will be (could be) deadly in many, this single accident by itself was not y2K related - but its lesson is y2K related in its effect and extent.

100 firefighters for one fire in one place? What happens when there are thousands (hundreds) of fires at once?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, July 06, 1999.

Robert, interesting that you should ask about what happens when 100's of fires are burning at one time.

In LA we've had riots, huge firestorms, etc. and from experience I can tell you that they just let them burn and pick the battles they think they can win or where lives are at stake.

I was actually working within a couple miles of the Laguna fire when it started. Multi-million dollar homes went *poof*, up in smoke.

Where the fire was in Downtown LA is actually a very important business area and the building that burned shared common walls on either side. So, those 100+ firefighters did a great job!!!

It's hot, dry and windy here today. Not a good climate to let firest burn. We have plenty of firefighters. My serious concern is what happens if water availability is a problem?

We had a couple of huge Superscooper aircraft here on loan from Canada a couple of years ago. I got to see them knock down a hill fire on the Palos Verdes Penninsula among more multi-million dollar homes. Awesome machines : ) Load, low flying machines, with really brave pilots. They would fly overhead at about 150-200 feet above the ground then drop at the cliffs of the coastline, swooping down and skimming the water - scooping up the Pacific Ocean. Then, rise, level off, bank quickly and head right back to the fire. I have some great video of the experience!!!

Anyway, I was very impressed. Now all we need is about 1000 more of these planes and no worries ; )

Mike ===================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, July 06, 1999.

Did anybody catch the story over the weekend of the California "controlled burn" that burned down 40 houses? They must have been y2k testing their fire trucks. LOL

-- a (a@a.a), July 06, 1999.

Micheal - hate to burst your optimistic bubble here - but that number of aircraft (any more than a "few" out of any single airport) would require the command, communications, ATC radars, landing lights, and fuel systems support (at the airport and fire fighting command centers) that are vunerable to the same y2k-induced failures - the same things that caused the fires to be accidently lit in the first place, and that contribute to the fact that they cannot be out and are out of control in the second place!

Thus, where people have remediated properly, there probably will be no systemic wide failures to cause fires that cannot be put out because of systemic wide failures.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, July 06, 1999.

Ethylene gas is commonly used to ripen tomatos. Suspect it may be used on bananas as well. Apples and other fruit supposedly give it off as well (is the reason cut flowers are not stored in the same refrigerators as fruit?). You can ripen bananas and tomatos by storing them in a bag at room temp with apples. Ethylene: C2H4 with 1 = bond between the carbons.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, July 06, 1999.

The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) controlled burn was at Lewiston in northern Calif. Shear stupidity, if you ask me. The wind was blowing really badly that day.

Controlled burns are used to clear the underbrush that has built up from years of fire-supression. Salvage, sanitation and other logging treatment, can emulate the natural mosaic created by light burning caused by summer lightning. The feds, however, prefer to let the forest fuels accumulate to dangerous levels and then burn the forest down.

-- marsh (, July 07, 1999.

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