Clarksville police say propane gas leak caused food truck explosion

The Clarksville Fire Department is now urging food truck business owners to get a gas detector and reveal the cause of the explosion.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 7:43 PM CST
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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Clarksville firefighters have now determined the cause of a food truck explosion that happened Friday night and said that it could have been prevented with one detector.

According to officials, the explosion stemmed from a leak out of one of the propane tanks a gas detector would have alerted of.

“This a lot of distraction, that happened in a quick amount of time,” said Clarksville Assistant Fire Chief Jobe Moore.

The leak caused the truck to explode into dozens of pieces which is something Moore said could have been deadly.

“It scares me because they were parked so close to their house and their neighbor’s house,” Moore said.

Moore said that both houses only sustained some damage of broken glass.

The explosion happened just moments after Marisa LaRocco parked her food truck at her Clarksville home after catering a wedding in East Nashville.

“Any explosion that produced the amount of devastation that that had, I’m surprised the house wasn’t more damaged,” Moore said.

But what surprised him, even more, was that the truck didn’t have one of their permit requirements.

“We require a compressed natural gas detector. If they are using propane, we require a propane detector. If they’re using a generator, we require a carbon monoxide detector as well,” Moore explained.

All three detectors were not on LaRocco’s food truck. LaRocco explained that she had her food truck permitted in Nashville last year and that Nashville fire officials didn’t require gas detectors for food truck permits.

“A lot of these units help. Maybe you can’t smell that you have a natural gas leak or you’ve been working in it all day and you don’t realize the leak is progressing,” Moore said.

WSMV asked Nashville Fire officials why natural detectors are not required for food truck permits and they said detectors are not required because units are not for habitation.

“If there was a gas detector in that unit, it might’ve alerted the owners there was a leak,” Moore said.

Clarksville fire crews now urge all food truck owners no matter what county, to get a gas detector.