US vegan food truck explosion leaves owner in hospital

Fresno, Calif.-based Planet Vegan‘s popular food truck exploded on June 24. The incident left co-owner Joe Ellis hospitalized with second-degree burns.

A second victim has been confirmed, but no details are provided other than that he is a minor.

Ellis has remained in intensive care since the incident. He is said to have burns on 35% of his body, which will require several surgeries in the future.

Estimates put Ellis’ medical bills at a total of at least $600,000.

The Fresno Fire Department is currently investigating the cause of the unexpected explosion. Parked in its usual location at a Chevron gas station, the truck apparently exploded for no reason. A propane tank is known to have exploded, although this is unconfirmed as the source of the fire.

Mike Oz, president of Fresno Street Eats, said ABC30 that the fire “definitely sent shockwaves through the food truck community.” He added that other food truck owners are in constant contact with Ellis, offering support in various forms.

Along with a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Ellis, the food truck contingent has planned a local fundraiser for June 30. The money raised will go towards Ellis’ growing medical bills and the revival of Planet Vegan.

“We’re going to donate money from every truck, from every place you go, from every vendor fee. All of this will go directly to Planet Vegan. One hundred percent of what we earn would go directly to them,” Oz said.

About five physical locations and 30 food trucks are expected to participate.

Ellis’ business partner Mike McElroy took to the company’s social media to thank everyone for their support.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who has shown love and support during this tragic time. I’m just speechless about it all, but we’re glad he’s still here with us. Any help and we really appreciate it,” he said.

To donate to Ellis’ GoFundMe page, click here.

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