1 dead after crash that led to SUV, building catching fire, officials say

Witness captures recording of fire minutes after crash

ORLANDO, Fla. – One person is dead after a crash Saturday night on Kirkman Road near Washington Street, officials said.

The crash happened around 9 p.m. at a storage building used to house merchandise for the Epilepsy Association of Central Florida. The main building is right next door. 

Troopers said a Ford SUV was heading north on Kirkman Road when for an unknown reason, the SUV left the roadway and traveled onto the east shoulder.

The SUV struck a tree and an unoccupied building, troopers said. The SUV then caught fire, along with a small section of the building.

Firefighters discovered the vehicle that was fully involved, in addition to a building that was about 25 percent involved, according to Orange County Fire Rescue. The fires were extinguished by Orange County Fire Rescue.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Florida Highway Patrol said because the body was so badly burned, it may take days before the medical examiner can identify the driver.

Heather Parris, who lives next door, caught cellphone footage showing huge flames shooting into the air minutes after the crash.

"The tree was actually in the car, so it was really bad ... really scary," Parris said. 

She said even when she thought to help, it was too late.

"By then it was on fire, and I have a baby to protect, so my first instinct was be a mommy," Parris said. 

Chuck Carmen, director at Epilepsy Association of Central Florida, said he knows it all could have been much worse. Sunday, he went inside and saw the damage for the first time.

"We’re more concerned (that) there was a loss of life here than the building," he said. "We have insurance -- the building will be replaced. We’ll get it all cleaned up. We’ll get it back running."

No one was inside the building at the time of the crash, officials said.

Police said a crash that happened about a mile away on Timberleaf Boulevard Saturday night is also being investigated. 

Carmen said investigators told him the driver of the crash on Kirkman Road was involved in a disturbance of some sort before, but police have not confirmed whether the two may be related.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.