LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Fire investigators are working to piece together the events that led up to a fiery crash that left one man dead.
Copter4 flew over the fire at a vacant building at Boston and Bowen in Longmont on Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities removed the charred wreckage of the vehicle on Thursday.
The victim has been identified as 34-year-old Carlos Bustillos. His two children, a 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, managed to escape after the truck they were in crashed into the vacant building.
Bustillos’ body was still inside when the 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 was pulled from the wreckage. The family dog also died in the crash. Family friends say the dog, a pit bull named Sugar, refused to leave his owner’s side.
A man who says he was driving in the car behind Bustillos just before the crash told CBS4 he saw Bustillos stop at a stop sign. The man said Bustillos then seemed to shake or convulse before hitting the gas and driving straight into the electrical box of the warehouse across the street.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that Bustillos suffered a seizure, causing the crash. Family members told CBS4 Bustillos experienced seizures in the past.
Many family and friends gathered at the site throughout the day, but perhaps the most emotional moments were when Bustillos’s son, Carlos Bustillos, Jr. returned to the place where he tried to save his father. He could be seen embracing friends and family.
Friends say Bustillos was a hard worker, longtime city resident and father. The say he was well-known in the community.
“Just to look into that building and know that he’s there, and he’ll never be with us, and he’s going to be sadly missed,” friend Tony Gomez said.
“It’s pretty sad. I never thought he would go that way — here one day, gone the next,” friend Wilford Muniz said.
Authorities say it appears the fact that the truck struck the building’s electrical box caused the fire to spark, and not necessarily the fact that there were any chemicals inside. Nothing suspicious was found inside the building.
“It was a very hot fire and it took a significant amount of water to get this under control, and from multiple angles of attack,” Cmdr. Jeff Satur with Longmont police said.
The building has been unoccupied since last fall’s flooding. Before then it was AA Plumbing Company owned by Vince Kelly.
A vigil was planned at the crash site Thursday at 6 p.m.