LA fire captain sues building, vape shop owners over May 2020 explosion in downtown

Explosion left him with “devastating third-degree burns,” lawsuit alleges

Los Angeles /
Sep.September 16, 2021 09:15 AM
The Boyd Street fire in May, 2020 (Getty)
The Boyd Street fire in May, 2020 (Getty)

A captain for the Los Angeles Fire Department has sued the owner of a warehouse and operators of a vaping supply shop in Downtown L.A. over a May 2020 explosion, claiming it left him with “devastating third-degree burns.”

Victor Aguirre and his wife, Claudia Aguirre, filed the lawsuit in a Los Angeles County court, alleging building owner Steve Sungho Lee and vaping shop operators Raheel Lakhany and Shafaq Sattar stored large quantities of hazardous materials illegally and in an unsafe manner, according to the Los Angeles Times, citing the lawsuit.

Located on East 3rd Street, the warehouse is located on so-called “bong row” — a collection of retailers selling vaping, cannabis and tobacco supplies.

The L.A. Fire Department previously determined that the explosion was fueled by an “excessive quantity” of nitrous oxide and butane, adding that the department had failed to inspect the property for at least a year before the explosion.

According to the suit, the explosion left Aguirre permanently disabled and required each of his fingers to be partially amputated. After being hospitalized for two months and undergoing 25 surgeries, he was eventually able to return to the L.A. Fire Department in an administrative capacity.

Federal criminal charges have already been brought against Lee and the operators of the shop, though the latter struck plea deals that required more than $100,000 be paid to the city.

[LAT] — Isabella Farr 


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