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Victims identified in Destin explosion
DESTIN - Authorities have identified the victims of a deadly explosion outside a vacation home in Destin. The blast killed one man and critically injured another. It happened around 7:00 PM Saturday night on the 700 block of Harbor Lane.
An SUV sitting in the driveway was obliterated. The side of a boat sitting next to it scorched as well. The windows of the garage were blown out. Investigators say the damage to the home is extensive.
The man who died has been identified as 35 year-old Michael Brower, of Illinois. 58 year-old Doctor Luis Lopez, also of Illinois, was hospitalized in critical condition.
Guy Santucci, a neighbor, said, "I thought my house blew up, it was so loud."
Santucci was watching TV at his home a block-and-a-half away when he heard the blast and came outside.
"I heard somebody screaming, 'Help!' so I jumped on [a] golf cart and ran down here and there was already a couple guys carrying a guy outta the garage and I...Just went in to help 'em get him outta there. The dude was saying he was on fire, he was on fire. Meanwhile, there was another guy laying halfway out the driveway on his back and they said, 'Nah, he's dead.'"
10 year-old Dylan Phillips and his father were riding bicycles nearby when they heard the explosion.
Phillips said, "I'm glad I thought going left was more fun because if we had gone right we probably would've been blown up."
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office says the investigation is focusing on acetylene welding torches that were rented for work on the house.
The State Fire Marshal has not yet determined an official cause. Investigators say the incident was accidental and that there is no indication of foul play.