1 dead after explosive crash at Dania Beach gas station

DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - One person is dead after, officials said, a car veered off the road along South Federal Highway and struck a gas pump in Dania Beach, Tuesday night.

Broward Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the crash along South Federal Highway and Seventh Street, at around 9:30 p.m.

Witnesses said the car was traveling southbound when it went off the road and stuck the gas pump at a BP gas station. That’s when an explosive fire erupted, according to BSFR spokesperson Mike Jachles.

“On arrival there was heavy fire from the gas pump and the vehicle,”said Jachles. “Crews immediately began knocking down the fire–we had Hollywood Fire Rescue here as well. They got the fire out. They determined there was one person that was dead in the car. Fortunately, nobody else that we know of was injured.”

Family members have identified the driver as 18-year-old Jose Romero, and they said, they believe speeding may have been a factor.

“My family used to tell him to calm down, ‘slow down because you’re gonna get in a car accident one day,'” said Jessica Sanders, Romero’s cousin, “and he would not listen sometimes, so he would just go whenever he got mad at us or someone else. He was really mad at his girlfriend. They got in a fight, so I guess he was mad and just lost control.”

According to relatives, Romero moved to the United States from Honduras, just eight months ago. “He was a good kid, hard-working kid,” said Romero’s cousin, Henry Gutierrez. “He died in the car of his dreams. I don’t know what was going through his mind.”

“The car, I guess, was going so fast it flew over the bushes, hit the gas pump and blew up,” said one witness, Louis Acosta.

Another witness said they heard the large blast. “I ran to the window and looked up, and all I saw was this black plume,” said resident TJ Gillespie.

“He tried to pull the guy out,” said another resident, Silvia Gillespie, “but the car was already engulfed in flames. You can’t even touch the handle of the car. He was already crumpled in his seat.”

Officials said they are conducting two separate investigations, one into the crash that led up to the fire and another into the blaze.

“There would’ve been no possible way that the victim could’ve gotten out of the car because the car was fully engulfed,” said another witness, Micheal Wolf.

7News cameras captured part of the gas pump that sheared off as a result of the impact and ended up in the roadway.

Police said that no one was using the gas pump at the time of the crash.

The gas station remains closed as authorities continue to investigate, however the store has reopened.

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