In a recent development, the owner of three businesses and four buildings in downtown Los Angeles is now facing over 300 misdemeanor charges in connection with an explosion incident that occurred at the location of a massive structure fire. This incident caused injuries to several firefighters.
The blaze, which took place on May 16, was captured on video, showcasing the frantic efforts of first responders as they tried to move away from the affected building. This building houses several shops, including Green Buddha, Smoke Tokes, Bio Hazard, and another Green Buddha outlet. According to reports from NBC Los Angeles, firefighters described the flames as incredibly intense, causing their helmets to melt and damaging some of the fire engines.
The building owner, Steve Sungho Lee, potentially faces a lengthy prison sentence of up to 68 years. Additionally, he may have to pay substantial fines, estimated to be in the thousands of dollars range. City Attorney Mike Feuer made this announcement in a statement released last Friday. Among the charges filed against Lee are conspiracy to endanger public health, failure to identify aerosols, failure to maintain aisles, failure to issue hazmat warnings, failure to display no-smoking signs, and failure to acquire a permit for the facility.
The intense blaze quickly spread to another building owned by Lee, where the businesses Bio Hazard and Green Buddha are located. The extent of the fire drew attention from miles away and led to a thorough investigation that uncovered multiple safety and fire code violations.
Moreover, authorities found that Lee’s two additional buildings were also in violation of the code. Furthermore, all four of his buildings were discovered to contain illegally stored hazardous materials, as revealed by the City Attorney’s Office.
The business operator of Smoke Tokes is also facing charges and may potentially spend up to 41.5 years in prison. They may also be subjected to significant fines. Similarly, the maximum penalties for Green Buddha and Bio Hazard amount to 43.5 years of imprisonment.
“The Boyd Street Fire was a devastating incident that could have easily turned into an epic tragedy for the LAFD,” commented LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas. He further expressed gratitude towards the arson investigators, the Fire Prevention Bureau, the LAPD, and the City Attorney’s Office for their collective efforts in bringing those responsible to justice. Chief Terrazas emphasized the importance of holding individuals accountable to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.