‘We’re really grateful.’ How to help food truck co-owner and boy injured in blast in Fresno

·3 min read

Planet Vegan co-owner Joe Ellis will have surgery this week after he was burned in a food truck explosion in Fresno last week, according to co-owner Mike McElroy.

The trailer caught fire Friday and injured Ellis and a 14-year-old boy. The Planet Vegan trailer towed by a pickup was parked at its regular spot at the Chevron gas station at the northeast corner of Shaw Avenue and First Street.

According to a family posting, Ellis jumped out of the window of the trailer before the Fresno Fire Department arrived.

McElroy said Ellis is “in a lot of pain” but in good spirits.

“My best friend,” he said. “One of the first people I text when I wake up. ... I talk to him every day. The bond we have is like you to have to be me or him to understand it. He’s the peanut butter and I’m the jelly. He’s a hard worker and a fighter and a great leader. He’s the one to keep me in good spirits when I’m down. He’s a great father; great brother and a great son to his mom. A prime example of what a solid overall character human being you want to be.”

Ellis was taken to the Community Regional Medical Center burn center and officials said he suffered second-degree burns to about one-third of his body.

The teenager was injured while he was walking nearby, according to his family’s GoFundMe posting.

Fresno Fire is looking into the blast. One of the propane tanks is known to have exploded.

While the investigation continues, support is coming in for Planet Vegan.

As of Monday night, $33,424 of the $600,000 was raised through GoFundMe.

Quesadilla Gorilla was one of the many that donated and sent a message to Planet Vegan.

“Wishing a speedy recovery, from your friends at Quesadilla Gorilla.”

McElroy has seen the postings and is overwhelmed by the support from the community.

“It really shows that the city really supports us,” he said. “We’re really grateful for it and I’m relaying everything to Joe every day based on the support we’re getting. It’s unexplainable. Everybody showing love. There’s a pandemic going on right now; high gas prices and everything. For people to donate their hard-earned dollars to us in our situation we’re going through as a business and as a family ... we’re really grateful for it.”

To donate, go to their page at GoFundMe.

Fresno Street Eats, which organizes food truck events around the Valley, is hosting a fundraiser for Planet Vegan on Thursday night at five locations in the Fresno area: Tioga-Sequoia, The Well, Gazebo Gardens, Crow & Wolf Brewing Co., Kingsburg Farmers Market and Table Mountain Casino.

Planet Vegan co-owners Joe Ellis, left and Mike McElroy, right. Ellis was burned in a food truck explosion in central Fresno last week.
Planet Vegan co-owners Joe Ellis, left and Mike McElroy, right. Ellis was burned in a food truck explosion in central Fresno last week.