KC food trucks reminded of safety concerns after explosion - KCTV5

KC food trucks reminded of safety concerns after Pennsylvania explosion

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Eleven people rushed to the hospital with severe burns while stunned witnesses looked on. The quick and violent blast caught on camera in Pennsylvania happened in a food truck and the people who were hurt say it came out of nowhere.

A mother and daughter were working inside the truck when it happened and, incredibly, both of them are expected to survive.

The cause was something very common in food trucks everywhere – a propane tank that exploded.

The horrible tragedy could happen anywhere. In the Kansas City metro there are more food trucks than ever that cater to everything from sandwiches to Mexican food, funnel cakes to cupcakes.

The best places to find a meal on wheels is in Westport and downtown. The advantages are that they're mobile, fast and efficient.

David Ruiz prefers his mobile kitchen to a brick and mortar restaurant because he says it's cheaper and easier to run. He also doesn't have to put up with the day-to-day stress of a fixed structure.

"I don't have to have a roof. I don't have to have AC or heating. It makes your bills less," he said.

But incidents like the one in Philadelphia are a reminder that food truck operators might need to take some extra precautions. Ruiz's freedom comes with certain risks. His small kitchen is more exposed and so is his propane tank and generator.

"It doesn't scare me, but it kind of warns me to always stay on top of your safety, always stay on top of your safety. That helps a lot," he said.

The health department of Kansas City, MO, said it inspects food trucks for cleanliness and to make sure kitchen equipment works properly, but propane tanks don't require an official inspection. That responsibility falls on owners like Ruiz.

"I have two 100 [gallon] propane tanks and I want to make sure they're done right, that there's no problems," he said.

The Kansas City Fire Department said propane tanks on food trucks should be treated just like the ones on a home gas grill. They should have new fittings that fit snugly and don't leak. Ruiz said he has his tanks examined every time he refills.

"Check them before you leave every morning, check all of your gas lines, make sure there's no leaks at all," he said.

The fire department also advises home propane users to check their tanks and their fittings, especially going into the Fourth of July weekend.

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