Video released by police Thursday showed a propane explosion and fire at a Las Cruces truck stop that critically injured a couple who were traveling cross-country in their pickup truck while towing a trailer.
The pair, a 63-year-old man and 59-year-old woman, were flown to the UMC Burn Center in west Texas after Tuesday night’s blast with life-threatening burns. But relatives indicated on Thursday that the two victims were recovering from their injuries.
The blast happened in the parking lot of the Pilot Travel Center on West Amador Avenue. It began as a pickup truck fire that ignited a propane tank, police and firefighters said.
The video shows a Las Cruces police officer, who was first to arrive at the scene, approach the burning pickup. When the officer was approximately 20 feet away, you can see the propane tank explode.
As the video continues, the unhurt officer can be seen helping to extinguish flames to the woman’s clothing.
“Investigators believe the couple was traveling from Michigan to Arizona and parked in a lot designated for overnight rest near the Pilot Travel Center. It appears a generator in the bed of their pickup caught fire and the couple was attempting to extinguish it when a propane tank, also in the bed of the pickup, exploded,” said Dan Trujillo, a police spokesman.
Exactly what triggered the fire remained under investigation by fire officials on Thursday.
The pickup was towing a trailer that contained three horses and three dogs, but authorities said none of the animals were injured in the blast.