A South Florida man who was conducting an illegal operation to obtain gas, was arrested by Miami Police after his portable gas pumping van exploded at a Marathon gas station on Friday.
The driver was identified as Onelio Castro, 47. He was charged with first-degree grand theft over $100,000, petit theft and criminal mischief.
The van exploded Friday afternoon at the Marathon gas station at Flagler Street and 72nd Avenue in Miami, sending a cloud of smoke into the air that could be seen from miles away.
The van was part of what Miami Fire said was an illegal operation to obtain gas. The van had the capacity to store upwards of 150 gallons of gas.
"We're trying to determine whether or not the person was in the process of trying to siphon out gas," said Iggy Carroll of Miami Fire. "Did he just finish or did something happen inside of it as a result of the explosion."
Miami Fire rescue said the man who was operating the van took off on foot. A perimeter was set up to look for the driver and Miami Fire investigators and Miami Police investigators were investigating the explosion.
"People that have this type of operation are obviously trying to do something illegal," said Iggy Caroll of Miami Fire. "But they obviously have no regard for their safety and as a result, this could've been deadly not only for the person that was doing this, but for the people in the area."
Castro's bond was set at $23,000. It is unknown at this time if he has an attorney.
Stay with NBC6.com for updates on this developing story.