Food trucks in Wichita keep safety in mind after explosion in Philadelphia

Published On: Jul 02 2014 05:17:33 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 02 2014 06:32:42 PM CDT

Twelve people are injured after a food truck explodes in Philadelphia Tuesday, fire investigators say a propane tank in the back of the truck caused the blast.

Almost every food truck in Wichita uses propane to fuel appliances, but none of them are inspected for fire safety.

The Flying Stove is Wichita's first and oldest food truck. While chefs work quickly to get meals out to customers, they also keep safety in mind. Especially after seeing video of the truck explosion in Philadelphia.

"I hope it doesn't put a black eye on the industry, because it is extremely uncommon," said Flying Stove Co-owner Jeff Schauf.

But when you use propane for fuel and grease to cook food, Schauf knows accidents can happen. That's why the Flying Stove has three fire extinguishers at the ready at all times.

Plus the Flying Stove keeps it's propane tank in a plastic crate to keep it stable, and owners puts the tank on the side of the truck to prevent another car from hitting it.

"We are just careful as we can be," Schauf says.

Every food truck in Wichita is licensed by the Kansas Department of Agriculture for food safety standards. But right now city code does not require an inspection by the fire department.

"They have given me some tips on what we can do to be even more safe," Schauf said.

Schauf expects those requirements could change because more food trucks are starting up in Wichita .

"As the industry grows, we want there to be standards for everyone else to be safe too." Schauf added. "But at the end of the day, everyone has got to be responsible for what they do and that is what we try to do"

Tom Stolz is the director of the department in charge of city and county ordinances. He says safety inspections are one of several items that will be addressed in future talks.

The current codes were written years before Wichita saw this influx of food trucks, and Stolz says there are many areas that need to be updated.