Three employees of a food truck selling falafel were seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the vehicle caught fire on the campus of George Washington University in Northwest Washington, according to the D.C. fire department.
One man and two women were rushed to the burn unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. A fire department spokesman said at least one patient was in critical condition. He said all three are expected to survive.
The fire erupted about 2 p.m. aboard the Falafel Bus, owned by the House of Falafel, a catering company specializing in Tunisian Mediterranean cuisine. It was parked in a line of other food trucks on H Street NW between 21st and 22nd streets, in front of the Gelman Library and a new university residence hall that opened this fall on the Foggy Bottom campus.
Flames could be seen rising above the back of the orange-and-yellow truck, and smoke could be seen for blocks. Fire officials said it appeared the fire started in the back of the vehicle, near the generator. Fire officials did not rule out an explosion but said they were still investigating the cause late Wednesday afternoon.
Ahmed Raouf, who was working on the Kabob food truck parked behind the Falafel Bus, said he heard three whooshing sounds, like air or wind getting sucked out, and then saw the fire. He saw rescue workers carry the woman outside, her arms and face burned.
“She was frantic and crying,” Raouf said. “I was freaked out.”
Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze. No students were hurt, according to Buchanan and a university spokeswoman.
The Falafel Bus was parked on a street normally occupied by as many as eight food trucks a day. The House of Falafel owns several trucks, according to its Internet site, all with different names. A company representative, reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, declined to comment.