MELBOURNE, Fla. – A fireworks store in Melbourne went up in flames after a car slammed into the building Monday afternoon, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue.
Troopers said an SUV struck a Toyota along West New Haven Avenue at about 4:15 pm, causing both vehicles to travel through an intersection and into the parking lot of the nearby Phantom Fireworks store.
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According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the SUV then crashed into the store, igniting the fireworks inside and setting the building on fire.
Investigators said the SUV driver, later identified as 53-year-old John Marcano, was found dead at the scene.
Roxana Dominguez, Marcano’s cousin, said Marcano was on his way to pick up his two sons when he was killed.
“He was just a funny and happy guy. He loved his wife, his children. Hard workers, working for the same company for 18 years,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said Marcano leaves behind a wife and two sons.
“You never know how much time you have left on this earth, if it’s days, weeks or minutes. You got to value every moment you have that you can be with family, and doing things you enjoy,” Dominguez said.
The flames were visible from Florida Department of Transportation cameras on Interstate 95 at mile marker 180.
What’s left of Phantom Fireworks store in West Melbourne.
FHP says a 53 y/o man died after he lost control of his SUV and crashed inside the building causing a massive fire.
— Ezzy Castro (@EzzyCastro) November 29, 2022
Investigators with Florida Highway Patrol returned to the scene Tuesday to continue gathering evidence. They said examinations of the building, intersection and vehicle involved, as well as eyewitness accounts, are key to their investigation.
“We do have one citizen that has some dash camera of the collision at the intersection,” Lt. Channing Taylor said. “We’ve been looking into that. It hasn’t been too much help right now as to determine what the condition of the driver was because we couldn’t see inside the vehicle at the time.”
Lt. Channing Taylor said Marcano struck a woman in a pickup truck twice before crashing into the building.
“After the impact, the driver of the pickup truck started to proceed forward to pull off to the side of the road to exchange information. The driver hit her again and pushed her through the intersection into the parking lot,” Taylor said.
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Troopers told News 6 Marcano was a father from West Melbourne. They said he was on his way to pick up his children when he crashed. At this point, it’s unclear why.
“There will be an autopsy performed. Hopefully, the medical examiner will be able to shed light on that,” Taylor said. “The family was unable to provide any information that would explain what happened.”
The Toyota driver was uninjured and remained at the scene, troopers said.
Phantom Fireworks released the following statement on Tuesday about the crash.
The state fire marshal is investigating the fire, and a crash investigation is ongoing.
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