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Propane tank likely cause of food truck explosion

Police say a leaking propane tank is likely to blame for an explosion inside a food truck that injured 13 including five people critically.
Police say a leaking propane tank is likely to blame for an explosion inside a food truck that injured 13 including five people critically.

The explosion happened inside the La Parrillada Chapina truck around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday. The truck was parked outside an auto body shop in the 300 block of West Wyoming Avenue in Feltonville.

According to police, a SEPTA police officer on duty nearby responded immediately to find multiple victims in the street.

At least one of those victims was on fire, police said.

Philadelphia police and firefighters arrived, transporting a total of 13 people to the hospital including five people in critical condition.

Action News has learned that two of the people in critical condition are the truck owner, 42-year-old Olga Galdemez, and her daughter, 17-year-old Jaylin Landaverry.



Police said Galdemez and Landaverry suffered serious burns across a substantial portion of their bodies.

Two others in critical condition are relatives of Galdamez - a 13-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman.

The fifth critical victim was a 23-year-old male passerby.



Galdemez had just recently purchased the food truck to replace a much older and smaller one.

City records show the truck was properly licensed by both the health department and L&I.

Investigators say the truck was equipped with two 100 pound propane tanks but only one of them was being used at the time.

The unused tank apparently started leaking, enveloping the truck in a cloud of propane.

Investigators say the gas was likely ignited by a stove burner.



The blast sent a fireball through the neighborhood and hurtled the propane tank into a back yard 95 feet away.

Chris Pepper is with the Philadelphia Mobile Food Association. He says the explosion raises important questions about food truck safety.

Pepper, along with city and state officials, say food truck propane systems do not require inspections. The focus is mainly on health conditions and business licensing.

Others states, however, have stricter rules.

California reportedly inspects truck integrity once a year, including propane lines and New York City only allows 2 -20 pound tanks on a truck.

Agents from ATF and OSHA were on the scene investigating Wednesday along with the city fire marshal.

Officials say it may be days or weeks before they know exactly what caused the leak.
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