Austin food truck owners stressing safety after explosion in Phi - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Austin food truck owners stressing safety after explosion in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Police say a "significant" propane tank leak led to a food truck explosion on Tuesday. The giant fireball put 13 people in the hospital. Five are still in critical condition including the mother and daughter inside cooking.

Back here in Austin there are food trucks on many-a-street corner.

Willy Pearce owns "Way South Philly Authentic Cheese Steaks" on Sixth and Waller. He's from Philly himself and was shocked by the video.

"I watched that for the first time just about an hour ago. My jaw dropped, I almost fell out of my seat. As with anything you do, safety first," he said.

Pearce says food truck operators have to pay attention to their surroundings. He says his tank is properly ventilated so he can smell if something has gone wrong.

"I've come in in the morning, maybe a year or so ago and I could smell propane and I could hear it and I just addressed the issue right away," Pearce said.

Round Rock Fire Marshal Dennis Kincheloe says they're constantly inspecting propane tanks as food vendors come in for events throughout the year, including this Fourth of July weekend.

"We make sure that they're in a well-vented area. They can't be underneath a frame of the vehicle, they can't be on the bumper, they can't be on the roof," he said.

Wednesday afternoon at The Picnic, we spoke with a family visiting Austin who had seen the explosion video at the airport. They've been to food trucks before and they're not afraid eating at the ones here in Austin after seeing it.

"It's not really an issue, you don't think about it. But like I was telling you earlier, you just don't know when stuff like that's gonna happen," the man said.

Pearce says he's planning on talking with his staff again about safety and hopes other food truck operators will do the same.

"They already know. However, it doesn't hurt to talk about it more. And I want to show them the video, not to freak them out because that's the last thing I want to do. But I do want to make an impression saying if there's anything out of the ordinary, whether it be propane or something else, get it addressed right away," Pearce said.

Police in Philly say the tank with the leak in it was later found 95 feet from the truck.

The ATF is also investigating to make sure foul play wasn't a part of this.

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