Carl Philbert, 31, loaded four propane tanks into his white four-door sedan on the Fourth of July. He put three tanks in the back and one in the passenger seat, then started driving toward his ex-girlfriend’s house.

According to WPBF, Philbert was “upset” with his ex-girlfriend after the pair had gotten into an argument earlier in the day. Hours later, he returned to the apartment with four propane tanks in tow.

The ex-girlfriend was cooking in the kitchen when she noticed Philbert’s car speeding toward her apartment complex.

She ran into the living room and yelled for her family to get away from the windows. Her 26-year-old daughter recalled the moment the sedan came bursting into the apartment in an interview with TC Palm:

“My mother was cooking. She saw him like coming full force at our living room, and she was trying to warn us as we were sitting on the couch, but it was too late and he had already come in and hit the window […] he drove through our living room.”

After the car came crashing through the apartment, it caught on fire, and the family of five fled the apartment through the back entrance.

The daughter saw Philbert’s body engulfed in flames as she left the room.

The family’s neighbors felt the building shake and ran outside to see what happened. Neighbor Kathy Toledo was able to get video footage of the car on fire.

Her husband, Pablo Toledo, rescued an older woman from the apartment above moments before the propane tanks exploded.

The St. Lucie County Fire District responded to a call for a residential fire at 12:48 p.m. They put out the fire and accounted for all 18 residents.

Philbert was reported dead on the scene.

UPDATE Wed 7/5: The cause of the fire was determined to be the impact of the vehicle into the building. One propane tank…

Posted by St. Lucie County Fire District on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

All eight of the apartment units were damaged in the blast, but only one fatality was reported.

Ed Cunningham, a spokesperson for the Fort Pierce Police Department, told ABC 25 that the incident was deliberate and that damages could’ve been much worse:

“We could have had all 18 people in this building killed. With a fire that spread that quickly, with all the propane gas involved, it could have been a major disaster.”

It is unclear at this time what provoked the incident, but Cunningham stated that police offers had been called for domestic disputes in the past.

According to statistics compiled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. experience domestic violence every year. Only 34 percent of the abuse victims seek medical attention for their injuries.

Lesley Ackrill, executive co-director at Interval House, a shelter for abused women, told the CBC that most domestic violence homicides take place immediately after a breakup:

“If there’s a history of violence in the marriage or union, we in the field know that the most dangerous time of a woman’s life is when she tries to leave — when she makes the break. Prior to this, he believes she’s controllable and controlled, and that he can continue to try and control her through abuse.”

She recommended that people in violent relationships reach out and call domestic violence hotlines, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the U.S., which can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Currently, the police have not released very much information about Philbert or his former incidents. Cunningham did tell reporters that Philbert was a Haitian immigrant who was living in a hotel and working in a local grocery store.

The daughter also told TC Palm that her mother and Philbert had been friends before they started dating but that it “turned out really bad.”

Posted by St. Lucie County Fire District on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Fort Pierce Police Department is working alongside the St. Lucie County Fire District and the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office to learn more about the incident.

The burnt apartment complex has been condemned until further notice. The Red Cross is working to find homes for the 18 people displaced by the accident.

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