WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- A small plane on Saturday afternoon crashed into a building in Fort Lauderdale in U.S. southeastern state Florida, leaving two dead and one injured, the authorities said.

The pilot and passenger aboard the plane were dead following the fiery crash into an occupied therapy center for children with autism, local media quoted Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan as saying.

The center, located near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, sustained "substantial structural damage" and caught on fire with five children and eight adults inside, Gollan said.

One of the center's teachers sustained a minor injury while evacuating the children from the building, he said.

The crash occurred just after 1:20 p.m. and the fire, which charred much of the outside of the building, had been extinguished by 2:00 pm, said a Miami Herald report.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a Cessna 335, which had just taken off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and was en route to Hilliard, a town in north Florida.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, according to an ABC News report.