Charlotte, NC: Safety Key for Local Food Trucks After Incident in Philly

By Michelle Boudin  |

 A food truck explodes, hurting more than a dozen people – and it’s all caught on camera. It happened in Philadelhia, but trucks like that are hugely popular in Charlotte, so we checked in to how they’re regulated to make sure something like that doesn’t happen here.

It happened suddenly and spread quickly.

A propane tank on a Philadelphia food truck caught fire sparking the explosion that hurt a dozen people, including the mother and daughter running the truck.

“It’s very unfortunate because things like that are preventable,” said Brian Stockholm. He is the owner of Papi Queso – the hugely popular gourmet grilled cheese truck here in Charlotte.

The gooey goodness he sells is part of the reason the food truck scene in Charlotte has really taken off in recent years – and Stockholm says most truck owners work hard to keep their businesses and customers safe.

“Safety is a huge part of it with any business. Preventative  maintenance is the biggest thing…we really take a lot of time and care to make sure all the parts of the truck are running properly, especially with propane and things like that.”

The trucks get annual vehicle inspections and checks from the health  department – but that’s it – and some food truck owners say it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a little more oversight.

“To get started there are requirements you have to meet but there’s not ongoing maintenance requirements, its more to the business owners themselves,” Stockholm says.

The propane tank that exploded is similar to the one you probably have with your backyard grill. The key Stockholm says for food trucks is regular maintenance.

“It’s the same thing but we just use ours on a daily basis so we want to make sure that were up to standards as far as keeping everyone safe.”

And he points out – this kind of thing, thankfully, is unheard of in the industry.