VIDEO: Fire, explosion after man crashes car full of propane into apartment building

A car slammed into an apartment complex in Fort Pierce, Fla. and sparked a fire that displaced 13 adults and 5 children. (Video Courtesy: Kathy Toledo | Facebook. Used with permission)

A woman recorded dramatic cell phone video of a fiery scene after a car crashed into an apartment complex in Fort Pierce on the 4th of July.

The 31-year-old driver, identified as Carl Philbert, was killed. Fort Pierce Police Department told CBS12 that they believe Philbert intentionally drove the vehicle, loaded with several full propane tanks, into the apartment building, causing the explosion.

Police say there was a history of domestic disturbances involving the driver and one of the residents.

According to St. Lucie County Fire District, the car crashed into the complex on Palm Avenue, just west of U.S. 1, shortly before 1 p.m.

Tyler Freeman was in the middle of a Fourth of July cookout when he heard the car crash into his apartment complex.

“All of the sudden we heard, like, a boom. We thought it was the trash because it’s trash day, and all of the sudden we heard another boom,” said Freeman. “I looked out the window and saw the car and it was on fire.”

Freeman said everyone in his apartment stopped what they were doing and ran outside.

“I came out to see what was going on and there was somebody in the car. A gentleman who was with a party of people at the apartment was trying to rip it open,” said Freeman. “I was trying to find a fire extinguisher so I ran inside.”

Pablo Toledo lives next door to the apartment complex. When he heard the car crash into the complex he jumped into action.

“When I went back, the lady said, can I help her? She couldn’t help her mother. Her mother just froze,” said Toledo. “So between the car and saving the lady, I went up there and saved the lady. I brought her over here and tried to save the car, but it was just too bad by then. Everyone had to get away because within seconds it was just boom.”

Toledo helped carry an elderly woman to safety right before the car exploded.

Freeman told CBS12 what he saw after the explosion.

“Supposedly, the gentleman had six propane tanks in his car and two exploded, and they got four across the street,” Freeman said.

Kathy Toledo shared her video with CBS12. She was standing on the other side of a fence as the car burned and exploded next door.

The fire kicked 18 people out of their homes, including five children.

The American Red Cross responded to help with shelter and food for the displaced residents.

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