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Box Truck Explosion In Boyle Heights Remains Under Investigation

BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA) — Boyle Heights residents were still shaken up Saturday after a box truck exploded near a gas station at a busy intersection during rush hour.

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

RELATED: Box Truck Explosion Rocks Boyle Heights Neighborhood

Firefighters initially believed the explosion was caused by a propane tank, however, the driver said he was carrying scrap metal. The cause remains under investigation.

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

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

The explosion shook the windows of a nearby Starbucks, where customers inside ran out, 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 reports of injuries.

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