Victims of a food truck explosion may seek lawyer assistance while recovering from their grievous injuries. It may seem bizarre that a causal outing to your favorite café on wheels could end in deadly fashion, but these eateries can pose some serious risks. The biggest risk is associated with the large propane tanks these vehicles often use to power cooking surfaces. Not every vehicle needs them, but any restaurant that plans on cooking and serving hot food will require a steady supply of propane. In some cases, these tanks may contain hundreds of pounds of flammable gas, which is enough to create a massive fireball in the event of an accident.
ARE MOBILE RESTAURANTS REALLY A DANGER TO PEOPLE?
As long as the owner and employees of a mobile restaurant maintain proper safety protocols and submit to regular inspections, there isn’t typically a high risk of a food truck explosion. A personal injury lawyer that handles these cases will typically find some level of negligence in the event of a disaster, however.
The starkest example of how dangerous these vehicles can be occurred in Philadelphia. On July 1, 2014, a mobile restaurant carrying a 100-pound propane tank was engulfed in a huge fireball after the tank sprung a leak. A cloud of flammable gas expelled from the tank reaching a heated cooking surface inside the restaurant and combusted instantaneously. The flames killed both women inside the vehicle, including the owner of the restaurant, and injured 11 others. The accident sent chunks of metal hundreds of feet into the air, and many people nearby were blistered and scorched by the fire.
If a propane tank is not filled or maintained correctly, it is only a matter of time before it results in a disaster. Hot grilling surfaces, fryer vats, compressed gas and exposed electrical currents can all cause the gas to combust, and there is typically no warning before disaster strikes.
What’s worse is that mobile restaurants are often poorly regulated. Only in recent years have these restaurants become a popular destination, and both health and safety inspectors are lagging behind. In Houston, this is of particular concern, as there are only a few inspectors available for dozens of restaurants spread out over the entire city. Vehicle owners are required to undergo regular inspections under the purview of the Houston Fire Department, but customers have no way to know whether a restaurant is abiding by these regulations.
This concern has become even more relevant in recent weeks as Houston passed a city ordinance allowing mobile restaurants into downtown and removing the restriction on parking. Previously, mobile restaurants had to park at least 60 feet away from each other, but this is no longer the case. This may increase the danger a propane tank leak poses.
Serious burns and trauma can result from a food truck explosion. A personal injury lawyer can help victims recoup the overwhelming medical expenses that they may face, as severe burns may require months of hospitalization while recovering.