A man has died after plunging a car filled with four propane tanks into his ex-girlfriend's house.

Carl Philbert, 31, reportedly got into an argument when he showed up at his former partner's Florida home and decided to return with the gas-laden car hours later.

He smashed into the front windows of her ground-floor apartment in Fort Pierce, causing the car to catch alight and burst into flames.

Philbert burned alive inside the car, but the ex-girlfriend and her family managed to escape through the back before the blaze spread to the home.

Eileen Cuevas, 26, told TCPalm.com that her mother was in the front room when she saw Philbert, her mother's ex-boyfriend, driving toward the home.

"As soon as he came in through the window, I just jumped up and grabbed my son, ran out the back door with him," Cuevas said. "I got my mother and my grandmother and everyone out of the house."

Fort Pierce Police Department spokesman Ed Cunningham confirmed that the incident took place as a result of an argument.

"He intended to do damage," Cunningham said, WPTV reported. "He raced his car into this apartment where five people were, intending to kill them, blow the place up, or create some kind of havoc."

Bodycam video from the scene shows the extent of the fire that engulfed the car in seconds.

Cuevas said she was not ready to share why Philbert tried to kill her family.

"It's very personal," she said. "It's still weird talking about it. He was trying to get to my mum. It was meant for everybody that was in the house.

"I mean, the man had four or five propane tanks in the car. They were friends and it turned out really bad. This is very personal for our family, so it's kind of touchy."

The incident is reportedly being investigated by police and the state Fire Marshal's office.