Former employee blows up himself at Jacksonville business

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating a fire at a Jacksonville business where the owner said a man he tried to help attempted to blow it up.

It happened at the Hale Intermodal Trucking company off Edgewood Drive in the Paxon neighborhood.

What’s left of a skeleton of a tractor-trailer is charred metal, blown out glass and buckled doors.

Neighbors captured images as firefighters worked to put out the flames.

The owner, David Peppers, told us an employee who he fired two years ago spitefully caused the explosion. Peppers said this former, homeless employee wasn’t a reliable worker, but that he allowed him to stay at his house, cooked meals for him and was working to help him fill out his disability paperwork.

Peppers said that this ex-employee took oxygen torches and lit both the trailer and himself on fire. On Monday, Peppers said he received a bizarre phone call from the man saying he was going to light up his business.

He never expected the threat to come to fruition, even when the windshield blew 60 feet in front of the truck.

This man was taken to UF Health with life-threatening injuries. JFRD was called to the scene around 8:30, and in 25 minutes, they were able to put out the fire.

Pepper said he’s shocked to have lost thousands of dollars in uninsured trucks after trying to help a homeless man.

Watch Action News Jax and follow Kaitlyn Chana on Twitter @KaitlynANjax for the latest developments on this story. 

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