A Florida man died after a fender bender at an intersection sent his vehicle into a fireworks store, setting off an explosion that engulfed his SUV in flames, police say.
The unnamed driver of the SUV struck a Toyota Tacoma, sending both vehicles through an intersection and into a Phantom Fireworks parking lot in West Melbourne, WESH News reported, citing Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). While the Tacoma stopped, the SUV continued on into the store, according to the outlet.
“The woman in the Toyota Tacoma pickup was rear-ended there at the intersection, at the red light. Low-speed impact. Once the light turned green, she was going to pull forward and so they could exchange information,” Lt. Channing Taylor with FHP told the news outlet.
Fireworks inside the building ignited with the SUV still inside the store, and flames began to cover the vehicle, WESH reported.
One person is dead after crashing a vehicle into a Phantom fireworks store in West #Melbourne .Police say it’s unclear what caused the crash. Video shows the moment after the car rams into the phantom, fireworks causing a massive explosion inside. pic.twitter.com/rpd2x48nfE
— Smriti Sharma (@SmritiSharma_) November 29, 2022
When Brevard County Fire and Rescue Crews arrived on scene, they found extreme fire conditions mostly brought on by the fireworks exploding inside the store, ABC7 reported. The two Phantom Fireworks employees made it safely out of the building. The 53-year old SUV driver was pronounced dead at the scene, according to WESH (RELATED: Several People Risk Lives To Pull Man From Burning Car After Driver Suffers ‘Medical Episode’)
Brevard County Fire Chief Patrick Voltaire told the outlet it took almost two hours to get the fire under control. “The fire extended through every bit of the building so the crews were met with heavy fire conditions along with a lot of fireworks. We had to put up aerial master streams to challenge the fire. We couldn’t make an attack too close to the building,” he said.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash.