PHOENIX - A man killed in a plane crash near Deer Valley Airport in north Phoenix Wednesday has been identified.
According to Phoenix Police Spokesperson James Holmes, 67-year-old James Freeman died after the plane crashed into City Wide Pest Control at 19th Avenue and Deer Valley.
Scott Walker with the Phoenix Fire Department said Freeman was a commercial pilot with multiple ratings. Crews on scene believe no one else was on the plane.
Officials called the scene a Hazmat situation during most of the day Wednesday because there were millions of small fiberglass pieces to clean.
Some businesses in the area were evacuated.
Walker said witnesses reported seeing the plane take off and loop around before crashing into the building. The witnesses also said they heard sputtering and there was possibly smoke coming from the plane prior to the crash.
"I knew there was nothing there to be saved. It was pretty massive," said Jessica Flower, a witness of the crash.
She saw the crash on her way to work and pulled over to call 911 and to take pictures moments after it went down.
Flower who climbed up on a fence to take a few pictures said even from about thousand feet away she could feel the heat of the flames.
"It was pretty scary," she said. "At one point you could hear it sizzle right after the boom. Kind of like back draft."
ABC15 talked with Paul Howe, also a pilot, who said he saw the plane take off, turn around, and nose dive into the building. "It was going real slow and stayed low the whole time," he said.
FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer told The Associated Press the plane was a Cirrus S-R 22 single engine aircraft that is registered to a corporation called Magneto Investments of Phoenix.
NTSB officials are investigating the cause of the crash and whether or not a door came off the aircraft prior to the fiery wreck. Authorities said they may have more information about the fatal crash on Thursday.
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