Tampa, FL: After Philly Food Truck Explodes, Inspection Questions at Tampa Rally

Food truck rally in downtown Tampa

By Shannon Behnken  |  WFLA.com
WFLA News Channel 8

A propane tank on the back of a Philadelphia food truck exploded yesterday. The truck turned into a fireball, injuring 12, two of them critically.

Surveillance video from two nearby businesses caught the whole thing on tape. A mother and 18-year-old daughter working on the truck were are still in the hospital, with serious burns.

The video has gone viral and is unnerving to watch, especially since many of us frequent downtown Tampa’s food truck rally on the first Wednesday of every month.

Could this happen here?

Tampa Fire Marshal Milton Jenkins heard about the explosion Wednesday morning and immediately thought of Tampa’s rally. He checked on the reports and found that the trucks had not been inspected before the event started, as required. So he went down to the food truck rally himself to check it out. He met an inspector there.

Jenkins explained there was a scheduling mix-up, and the inspector was booked to do other inspections before the food trucks. They found nothing extremely serious, but found one truck didn’t have the proper extinguisher.

“It normally happens with new vendors,” Jenkins said. “They have the suppression system and don’t realize they also need the extinguisher.”

He shut down that truck, but 8 On Your Side found the food truck continuing to operate.

Marshall said the truck operator could serve the food already cooked but couldn’t cook more food until the extinguisher was there.

The Philadelphia explosion is still under investigation.