box truck, explosion, boyle heights

BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA) — A box truck explosion in Boyle Heights that closed a busy intersection during rush hour and shook up witnesses is under investigation.

Crews responded to 2720 E. Olympic Blvd. at 5:47 p.m. following a report of an explosion of unknown contents inside a semi trailer truck. The driver of that truck was able to pull into a nearby gas station, which was evacuated as a precaution.

Witnesses were dazed as debris littered the crowded intersection after a loud boom.

“I thought it was a bomb,” Rico Romero said. “Everyone was kind of looking around. Some lady [was] screaming out, ‘Hey, is everybody OK?'”

Customers inside a nearby Starbucks ran outside and local residents looked on, unsure of what happened.

“All of the apartments … it just shook like it was an earthquake,” neighbor Natalie Garcia said.

Drivers abandoned their cars as police and fire officials evacuated nearby businesses for Hazmat and bomb squad teams to assess the area.

A portion of Olympic Blvd. at Soto St. was shut down during the on-scene investigation.

A LAPD spokesperson said the department was investigating if the explosion was cased by a propane tank in the back of what LAFD officials say is a privately-owned box truck. The driver of the truck told authorities the vehicle was used to recycle scrap metal, which could be seen littering the street.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

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