Home Fire News Florida driver killed after crashing into fireworks store, which set the building...

Florida driver killed after crashing into fireworks store, which set the building on fire


Howard Cohen

Miami Herald

The remains of a business smoldered for more than 12 hours after a vehicle crashed into a fireworks store in West Melbourne, Florida, Monday afternoon.

The inventory inside the Phantom Fireworks store exploded after a red SUV, driven by a 53-year-old man, crashed into the business, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue and the Florida Highway Patrol.

The man in the SUV was killed, troopers said. His identity was not released.

According to FHP troopers, a 2006 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and the SUV were heading south on South John Rodes Boulevard when the driver of the SUV hit the back of the truck and pushed both vehicles into the parking lot of the Phantom Fireworks store, Spectrum News 13 reported.

The SUV continued into the store where the combustibles immediately started popping.

The driver of the Toyota, a 39-year-old woman, was not hurt and stayed at the scene, according to FHP and reported by Florida Today.

“When crews from BCFR Station 82 arrived on scene, they found heavy and rapidly deteriorating fire conditions with heavy involvement of the fireworks that were inside of the building,” Brevard Fire Rescue posted on Facebook.

Video posted to Facebook by Alyssa Peterson and reported by WTSP Tampa Bay 10 shows fireworks exploding inside and the sounds of “Oh my, God! Oh my, God!” as the magnitude of the crash set in on the videographer.

“Please excuse my panicking, but this was a lot to handle. I did call 911 fyi when the car hit the building but seconds later fire broke out,” Peterson said on Facebook.

As social media users commented on her post, wondering why people posted videos rather than helping, Peterson responded that the car “caught on fire immediately! A lady did try to run in and help but the fireworks started going off so she ran right back out. There was no time. The car literally just crashed, I called 911, then recorded about 30 seconds later and it was already starting to go off!”

Peterson was shooting from across busy U.S. 192 near a gas station across the street.

Michael Geddis of Titusville and Mary McLaughlin said they were sitting in their car at the stoplight at the intersection when they saw the SUV crash into Phantom Fireworks.

“I pulled up, and we both ran out to see if we could help someone. When the fireworks started, we turned,” Geddis told Florida Today. He said fireworks were shooting as far as a truck parked in an adjacent Americas Best Value Inn & Suites parking lot.

“It was like a horror show,” McLaughlin said.

©2022 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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