DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The 11 firefighters who were injured fighting a massive fire in downtown Los Angeles had an opportunity to thank the doctors and medical staff that helped save their lives.
On May 16, responded to the blaze at a commercial smoke shop. As the smoke pressure escalated in the building escalated, they were directed to get out of the building, just before an explosion rocked the building.
A Mayday call came over the radio, and within minutes, all 11 of the injured firefighters were transferred to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. Thankfully, they all survived and were able to meet with the doctors and staff who have helped them recover.
"Seeing everybody up and mobile and just on the road to a great recovery. I'm so thankful that you're here," said Dr. Peter Grossman, director of the Grossman Burn Center.
Video of the fire showed several firefighters trapped on a ladder, completely engulfed in flames, as they tried to exit the building. It's something Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas still hasn't gotten over.
"It really didn't strike me until I saw the video. The video where I saw our firefighters completely engulfed with flame. And the first thing I thought- it's amazing that they survived," he said.
And while the physical wounds will heat, the injured firefighters still have a long road ahead.
"I know the physical pain was more than you probably experienced in your life, but I know the mental pain doesn't go away the next day," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "I want you to stay as firefighters. I want you to continue serving this city. I want you to be the angels that you are."
One positive change that has come from the fire is a crackdown on the storage of hazardous materials. The building was full of highly flammable butane canisters, but officials say there were no signs on the building warning of the danger inside.
More than 100 businesses in the city have been newly identified and 11 of them had so much illegal hazardous material stored, that they were forced to shut down.