A former soldier has died after the explosive vest he was wearing after visiting his ex-partner detonated while he drove over a speed bump, sending a Melbourne street in Australia into lockdown for more than 12 hours.
Police were called to a quiet cul-de-sac in Hallam in the city’s southeast shortly before midday on Saturday morning following reports of a crash.
Footage shows the moment the homemade explosive vest exploded and erupted into flames after the man hit a bump while driving along Young Road.
The car continued traveling down the road for several hundred meters before it crashed into a parked vehicle at the corner of Homewood Boulevard.
Police found the body of a Dandenong father, 43, inside the car. His name has not been released yet.
It’s understood the man had been at the home of his ex-partner shortly before the incident, Seven News reported.
‘I just heard a big loud bang at about 11 am and I looked out the window and saw the car had gone through the roundabout and crashed into a sign,’ resident Ben Augel recalled.
‘They had the streets blocked off and police pretty much controlling everything, there were 15 police cars all around the place.’
A shocked neighbor added: ‘The car was just passing and the fire came from the driver’s side suddenly,’
‘It is scary for me because all day me and the children were at home.’
Police blocked off the street for 12 hours while officers from the arson and bomb response units spent almost 24 hours examining the scene to ensure the street was safe.
Police said the man’s death is not being treated as suspicious.
‘The circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation by the Arson and Explosives Squad,’ a police spokeswoman said.
‘Bomb Response Unit members attended due to explosive items located inside the vehicle and it took a considerable amount of time for the Bomb Response Unit to render these items safe.’
The drama unfolded within close proximity of an aged care facility.
One local resident who wasn’t home at the time at the crash posted on Facebook he was unable to return to his house until 1am the next morning.
One woman told 3AW residents were ordered to stay inside their homes as remote-controlled robots deactivated the explosive items.
‘The deceased remained in the vehicle whilst the bomb response unit worked painstakingly through the afternoon and night,’ she told the radio station on Monday.
Family and friends of the former soldier have visited the scene to pay their respects.
‘Dad, my soldier 4ever,’ a spray-painted message on a brick wall read.