Food Truck Mania: Is There a Hidden Danger?

Food Truck Mania: Is There a Hidden Danger?

Food truck mania is sweeping the country.   From hot dogs to genuine gourmet meals, you can find just about anything to satisfy your appetite.

"They're fast, the food is really good," one customer told INSIDE EDITION. 

"They are just like going to a real restaurant," said another.

But could there be a hidden danger lurking in some food trucks?

In Fresno, California, a food truck exploded at a high school.  Three people were injured.

A 911 caller in Fresno frantically sought help, "There's been a huge explosion.  We need to get a fire truck here now!"

Across the country, we found cases of restaurants on wheels catching fire, and many times it's due to leaking propane stored in tanks used to cook the food.  Some accidents have caused minor injuries, but a recent one in Philadelphia was deadly.

The popular food truck was serving a lunchtime crowd when propane from an old tank that according to the fire department was built in 1948, leaked into the truck  and ignited, causing a massive fireball.

Jaylin Landaverry, 17, and her mother, 42-year-old Olga Galdernez were inside the truck serving food and were killed in the blast.  Eleven others were injured.

Yasmine Landaverry remembered her late cousin, "She loved everybody and loved to help people."   

One guy was across the street when the truck burst into flames, but he still suffered burns to his back and ears. "It was horrible," he explained. "I thought I was going to die."

So, just how dangerous can leaking propane be? We decided to find out with the help of the Connecticut State Fire Marshal’s office and the Branford, Connecticut Fire Department. The agencies  put together  a demonstration for INSIDE EDITION viewers.

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Mannequins were placed inside and outside the truck.  Then propane was leak into the vehicle.  The propane inside the truck was then ignited causing a large explosion.

INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero was a safe distance from the demonstration accompanied by Connecticut State Fire Marshall Bill Abbott.

"Wow, that blew out the windows," said Guerrero.

INSIDE EDITION had set up multiple cameras to record the powerful propane explosion

A slow motion camera clearly showed the propane igniting, followed by a fire ball bursting outside the truck.  The force of the blast shattered the dashboard window and hurled the mannequins away from the truck. 

Guerrero felt the blast from 200 feet away.

Guerrero asked Fire Marshal Bill Abbott, "If this would have happened with people serving food inside and people lined up outside to order food, what would have happened?"

"It would have been a catastrophe," Abbott responded. "Someone would have definitely gotten hurt or killed."

Some critics are pushing for alternative fuels like natural gas to cook the lunchtime delicacies. They say it's safer.  But the food truck and propane industries stress that these accidents are rare and you  should continue to enjoy your favorite food truck pit stop.