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The Philadelphia Police and Fire Department investigate the scene of a food truck explosion in the Northeast section of Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

C.F. Sanchez, AP/Philadelphia Daily News

Mother, daughter die after Philly food truck blast

  • Associated Press
  • July 24, 2014 - 11:45 AM

PHILADELPHIA — A mother and teenage daughter have died of injuries they suffered in a fiery explosion inside their food truck earlier this month, authorities said Thursday.

Jaylin Landaverry Galdamez, 17, died Tuesday and Olga Galdamez, 42, died Sunday, according to the medical examiner's office. The mother owned the truck.

Both died of burn-related injuries suffered from the July 1 explosion of the La Parrillada Chapina truck in the Feltonville neighborhood of north Philadelphia, said Jeff Moran, a spokesman for the office.

Eleven others were injured, three critically, in the explosion, which investigators believe was caused by a propane tank leak ignited by cooking grills.

Jaylin Galdamez hoped to become a doctor. One of her teachers called the food truck her "ticket to their future." Her father had died a few years ago.

"My understanding is that when Jaylin went home each day, she did her school work and then she began the prep work for the food truck," said Carol Dauerbach, who taught her at Little Flower High School, a Roman Catholic High School for girls.

Olga Galdamez got up at 3 a.m. to start cooking, and Jaylin sometimes helped her before school, Dauerbach said. In the summers, she would join her mother in the truck.

"(They did) all they could do to get Jaylin where she wanted to be in life," said Dauerbach, who had been asked to write the rising senior's college recommendation letter.

The bodies are expected to be flown to Guatemala for burial after a funeral Friday, relatives told KYW-TV.

Nearby surveillance video captured the explosion, which was followed by a huge fireball that engulfed the 25-foot truck and set a utility pole on fire.

The truck carried two 100-pound propane tanks to fuel its grills. Both tanks were full and one was in use at the time of the explosion. Investigators believe the leak occurred in the other tank, which was later found nearly 100 feet away.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the city fire marshal's office investigated. Messages left with those agencies Thursday by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.

© 2014 Star Tribune