CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - When the Falcon 9 explosion happened just after 9 a.m. of Friday morning, when people were still starting their day. They worry what this accident could mean for their community. The launch pad still smoldered, hours after the rocket had exploded. People could hear the blast for miles.
"It went 'Boom!' It was long. I thought it was thunder," said Kitty Van Horn.
"I thought it was the military doing something like that. We live down in this area and saw so many launches I didn't even think of it being a launch," Teddy Youtz said.
"Looking out, fantasizing about the launch and then BAM! it blew up and you saw this blue smoke," said Michael Lori.
And the fear followed. "I got three phone calls after it happened, one from Palm Coast, one from Saint Augustine and one from Vermont all worried that we were so close we were gonna get hit by the toxic fumes," Michael added.
They worried about any potential victims. "They can rebuild the rocket but they can't rebuilt people," Kitty said.
Mike Schwarz saw the smoke, too. He runs a nearby restaurant and wonders what affect this could have on local businesses.
"The only thing that's sad is we were hoping for that launch on Saturday which always brings out a nice crowd, but in the end we just hope everything's okay and no one got hurt," Schwarz says. Schwarz says they like having SpaceX in the area, and love watching the rockets launch.
"The launches go up, you can see 'em go off. Within a few seconds you get the effect and the feel, it rattles the building. It's pretty spectacular, so it's sad to see what happened for those guys," Schwarz adds.
SpaceX launches had become a regular event here in Cape Canaveral. They had been sending up rockets almost every month, this year. Now locals worry about the future of the program.