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Philadelphia Food Truck Explosion Puts Austin Food Trucks on High Alert

Updated: Wednesday, July 2 2014, 06:34 PM CDT

An investigation is underway tonight to determine what caused a propane tank on a food truck in Pennsylvania to explode. The blast injured at least eleven people and has food truck operators in Austin on high alert.

The food truck burst into a fireball Tuesday night in North Philadelphia. Today a mother and daughter are in critical condition with burns to more than 50 percent of their bodies.

"It's bad, it's bad. It is scary," said Oscar Acosta, owner of Tac-O's food truck.

In 2007, a similar incident happened in Austin during the ACL music festival.

"I just remember there being a big explosion when I was there," said Jaime Laratta who manages Short Bus Subs on Barton Springs Rd.

A propane tank attached to a trailer is blamed for that explosion, too. "We look very closely at the propane especially because it can be a hazard. It has also changed the way we look at the use of propane at festivals and events here in town," said Lt. Brad Price of the Austin Fire Department.

Laratta says the fire department inspects their truck at least once a year. "I've been here when the fire department's come. Our propane has always been okay," said Laratta. "Our propane guy always checks it when he refills it to make sure everything's going OK as well."

"One of the main things we do is a pressure test on the gas system on the vehicle which checks for leaks," said Lt. Price.

Luci Soneriu owns the food truck behind Short Bus Subs, and says she glad to know her neighbors take precautions because any malfunction would affect them all.

"It's going to be a big explosion if something happens here," said Soneriu. "Yeah, we've got to be very, very careful."

A spokesperson for the Austin-Travis County Health Department says they've issued 1,576 food truck permits in the Austin area.

By Deeda Payton

Philadelphia Food Truck Explosion Puts Austin Food Trucks on High Alert

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