Propane tank explosion in garbage truck sparks strip mall fire in Mendham, New Jersey

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John del Giorno in NewsCopter 7

A propane tank in a garbage truck exploded, sparking a fire that burned through four businesses in a Mendham strip mall on Wednesday.

The operator of the private sanitation truck was collecting trash behind the Mendham Village Shopping Center when a propane tank exploded at around 6:15 a.m.

The truck uses a propane tank for fuel, a type of green technology.

The explosion shook nearby homes and the fire quickly spread to the strip mall.

The owner of the shopping center said four businesses were damaged -- a Chinese restaurant, a coffee shop, a pizzeria and a chocolate store.

The fire was extinguished in several hours.

The driver was not in the truck at the time of the explosion and was not injured.

Route 24 was closed to traffic between Cold Hill Road and Tempe Wick Road for fire department activity.

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