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Morning Briefing: Massive Fire Breaks Out On DTLA's 'Bong Row'

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Firefighters respond to an explosion in downtown Los Angeles that has injured multiple firefighters and caused a fire that spread to several buildings, Saturday, May 16, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio) (Stefanie Dazio/AP)

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Well, a lot has happened already this weekend. We had a massive fire downtown.... and, I've gotta say, every disaster feels kind of excessive right now. We're already experiencing a global pandemic and pending economic collapse. It's just a lot.

Thankfully, the firefighers of Station 9, who already have the incredibly difficult job of providing emergency medical aid for those living on Skid Row, are going to be OK. A few sustained critical injuries, but LAFD says recoveries are expected.

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So let's all raise a glass to L.A.'s firefighters who are out there everyday, pandemic or not, keeping this city from burning down. And let's raise a second glass (because it's Sunday) to the late great Lynn Shelton, who was an inspiration to so many L.A. filmakers, and will be dearly missed.

Stay safe and get some vitamin D today, L.A.

Gina Pollack


The Past 24 Hours In LA

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L.A., California, The World: There are now more than 37,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 1,800 deaths in L.A. County. In California there are at least 78,818 cases and 3,208 deaths. Worldwide, there are more than 4.6 million cases and over 311,000 deaths.


Correction: An earlier version of this story overstated the number of cases and deaths in L.A. County.


Beaches are open again, but we're getting mixed messages from officals about biking near the sand. Photos showed minimal crowding in Venice and Santa Monica yesterday. Visitors were definitely sunbathing, which is technically on the don't-do list, but it looks like they had enough room for social distancing. We also accidentally started a twitter fight about it?

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As if it didn't already feel like the apocalypse, a huge fire broke out in downtown L.A. last night. Eleven firefighters from Station 9, which covers Skid Row, were injured. Some were put on ventilators and others experienced severe burns, but Mayor Garcetti said they will all recover. The fire happened at a smoke shop/supplier of butane honey oil, in an area known by some as "Bong Row."

L.A. lost a friend: Celebrated film director Lynn Shelton died on Friday from a blood disorder at the age of 54. Her partner, comedian and actor Marc Maron, said the condition was previously unknown, telling IndieWire: "I am leveled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don't really know how to move forward in this moment." Hollywood took to social media to mourn her loss.

Tell me something good: You won't have to move your car for alternate street parking until at least June 1. (Personally, real happy about this one, seeing as I don't have a garage or driveway and already have given the city lots of money for past tickets. #blessed). Descanso Gardens is open again, meaning you can buy a ticket for an activity outside your home! Plus, flowers!

Sorry to report: The L.A. County fair, scheduled for September, is cancelled -- it hasn't been called off since WWII.


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Moment of zen:

L.A. resident Elizabeth Rowin decided to give the Smokey Bear in Griffith Park, near Los Feliz Blvd., a new look for 2020. "Mayor Garcetti has ordered we all wear masks when leaving the house," she said via email, "so I thought Smokey Bear was the perfect messenger: 'Only you can prevent the spread of Covid-19.'" We think his eyes say it all.

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(Photo courtesy Elizabeth Rowin)

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