FORT PIERCE, Fla. (WSAV) – Florida police say a 31-year-old man loaded propane tanks into his car and rammed it into an apartment building where his former girlfriend lived.
“He intended to do damage,” says Ed Cunningham, Fort Pierce Police spokesman. “He raced his car into this apartment where five people were, intending to kill them, blow the place up, or create some kind of havoc.”
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.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Kathy Toledo, a witness on scene. “That was crazy.”
Toledo and her husband saw the immediate aftermath of the crash and a fast-growing fire.
“My husband ran over with a fire extinguisher to try to put the fire out,” Toledo said.
Cunningham says Philbert was an immigrant from Haiti who had been staying at hotels in the area. Authorities say Philbert has a history of domestic trouble with the woman who lived in the apartment.
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.
Attributes: AP, NBC News