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Florida man crashes into fireworks store, sparking huge fire

The driver was killed and the 5,573-square-foot store was destroyed.
A store manager surveys the damage to Phantom Fireworks in West Melbourne on Tuesday, after it was destroyed by fire on Monday. Authorities say a Florida man drove his SUV into the fireworks store, sparking a massive fire in a crash that also killed the driver.
A store manager surveys the damage to Phantom Fireworks in West Melbourne on Tuesday, after it was destroyed by fire on Monday. Authorities say a Florida man drove his SUV into the fireworks store, sparking a massive fire in a crash that also killed the driver. [ MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY | AP ]
Published Nov. 30, 2022|Updated Nov. 30, 2022

MELBOURNE — A Florida man drove his SUV into a fireworks store, sparking a huge fire in a crash that destroyed the building, authorities said. The driver was killed.

The 53-year-old driver had rear-ended another vehicle on Monday before plowing into the Phantom Fireworks shop in West Melbourne, igniting rockets and touching off a series of explosions, Florida Today reported.

“It was wild. I could not believe how close people were to it as the fireworks were still blowing up,” Palm Bay resident Richard Griffin told the newspaper. “The mortars and stuff like that, those things can go 100 yards or more when you shoot them straight in the air. So you’ve got these mortars and all sorts of different types of fireworks that are shooting all over.”

The 5,573-square-foot (518-square-meter) store was destroyed, authorities said. Police didn’t release the name of the driver. They said they are continuing to investigate the crash.

West Melbourne is an Atlantic coast community about 70 miles (110 kilometers) southeast of Orlando.