One of two propane tanks aboard the Feltonville, Pennsylvania-based La Parrillada Chapina truck exploded yesterday while its mother-daughter operators were working inside its kitchen. Olga Galdemez, 42, and Jaylin Landaverry, 17, suffered major burns and were listed in critical condition. Others who were injured included a man who had been sitting on a nearby porch, and a woman emerging from a nail salon down the street whose “whole back got sprayed with debris.” Witnesses describe flames shooting hundreds of feet into the sky, and the four-foot propane tank was later recovered in a nearby yard, 150 feet from the truck. Philadelphia authorities are now working to establish the cause of the explosion. The resulting fireball was caught on tape by a camera outside a nearby business, which may prove to be of some help with their determination.
Food truck operators often opt to cook with propane over alternatives like diesel-based generators, which detractors say are noisy and less environmentally friendly. In 2011, the Manhattan-based food truck Frites ‘N’ Meats was carrying twice the legal limit of propane when it collided with another vehicle and exploded. Its operator was later arrested and charged with reckless endangerment after it was discovered he had left the truck’s stove on while driving.