Police: Man loaded propane tanks in car, drove into building
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Police in Florida say a 31-year-old man loaded propane tanks into his car and rammed it into an apartment building where his former girlfriend lived.
Fort Pierce police spokesman Ed Cunningham tells Treasure Coast Newspapers that five adults and a toddler escaped uninjured through a back door when Carl Philbert, who died in the crash, smashed into the building and caught fire.
Cunningham says Philbert was an immigrant from Haiti who had been staying at hotels in the area.
A witness who ran toward the fire with a fire extinguisher raced upstairs to save an elderly woman. "She wouldn't move, like, she wouldn't let go of the railing so I just ran up and grabbed her," said Pablo Toledo, whose wife captured the fire on camera.
After the car crashed into the building and caught fire, video shows a huge explosion rocking the apartment building, but residents got out just in time.
The St. Lucie County Fire District said in a news release that all eight units at the apartment complex were damaged. The American Red Cross was assisting 13 adults and five children displaced by the fire.
The incident is being investigated by fire officials, police and the state fire marshal's office.