By Contributor | KSAT.com
SAN ANTONIO – Health standards are a common concern for food truck connoisseurs but fire safety standards are an important issue too.
A food truck explosion in Philadelphia last week served as a sobering reminder of the dangers.
Locally, fire safety inspectors do what they can to help make sure food trucks are safe.
Once a year, food truck vendors like Frank Collazo are required to pass a health inspection and a fire safety inspection.
“I don’t do any cooking in my truck. I don’t even have kitchen space, but you have to get inspected the same as if you were,” said Collazo.
“There’s a checklist. There’s a number of things we look for (such as the presence of) fire extinguishers,” said Chris Monestier, deputy fire marshal and assistant fire chief. “A potential hazard is the propane, so (the inspector is) checking for any leaks in the lines, making sure the hoses are approved for that use.”
Last Tuesday, in Philadelphia, a propane tank exploded inside a food truck injuring 12 people and severely burning two people.
Locally, it was a tragic reminder of the potential danger.
“Our division chief, (who’s) responsible for the fire prevention division, went ahead and put that out to all the inspectors and said, ‘Look, this is why we do these type of inspections. It’s because of public safety,'” said Monestier.
Food truck operators are required to have fire safety inspections once a year and they have to display the inspection sticker on the outside of the truck next to the health inspection sticker. They can also have pop-up inspections at any time.
Violations can result in fines up to $2,000.
“I take pride in my trailers, my food trucks, my business, but I think it’s good for us to get inspected and have surprise inspections,” said Collazo.
The food truck industry is booming and fire officials said inspections have more than quadrupled over the past year and a half.
Due to the demand on inspectors , they recently starting charging a $150 fee for annual inspections.