‘Pure panic!’ Car crashes into iconic Virginia pub, setting it on fire, leaving 14 injured

A driver careened practically into the front door of Ireland’s Four Courts pub in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday during Happy Hour, setting the bar and restaurant on fire and injuring at least fourteen people.

(Video Credit: WUSA9)

Arlington County Police and the county fire department reported that the fire was put out but the structure was not inhabitable. There is still no explanation for the crash and it is under investigation. The incident occurred at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Friday, according to WJLA.

So far there is “no information to suggest the crash was deliberate,” a law enforcement official claimed concerning the investigation during an interview with ABC News on Saturday. “Background research on the driver revealed no derogatory or concerning information.”

Photos and videos of the crash went viral on social media with aerial footage showing heavy smoke coming from the building and a ton of firefighters battling the blaze.

First responders reported that eight victims were transported to local hospitals after the crash. Four of those were in critical condition. Four others suffered from non-life threatening injuries. Six patients were treated at the scene and were then released. The driver who crashed the car into the pub was among those taken to the hospital, according to police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

A worker at the pub name Mary Reilly said it was a miracle that Happy Hour was so light when the crash happened. She was waiting on a table in the back with three gentlemen from Ireland when the vehicle plowed through the front, injuring her in the process as people panicked and pushed to get out the back.

About 30 patrons and staff members were in the pub at the time as “pure panic broke out,” she remarked.

Reilly said, “We all heard a bang, like an explosion, so I just turned around and I saw all the debris coming towards the back of the pub. So, it was just pure panic.”

“It was just pure panic. ‘Everybody out the back, everybody out the back.’ That’s what it was. Just panic,” she reiterated.

Doug Samuelson, of Annandale, was in the area when the crash happened and the fire broke out. He told WTOP’s Dave Dildine that he heard a sound that sounded like a “truck crashing into a building” and then fire department crews descended on the scene and ordered everyone to get out.

The flames, Samuelson said, were shooting 12 to 15 feet high and there was an acrid smell.

“Please keep all the injured in your thoughts and prayers,” the pub tweeted. “Thanks to .@ArlingtonVaPD and .@ArlingtonVaFD for their quick response. We are devastated.”

The restaurant and bar issued a statement Friday evening stating that it was “devastated” over the accident and those who were hurt.

An official GoFundMe has been set up to help the bar rebuild. Those interested in donating can do so at this link.

Friends, family and colleagues go to Four Courts to celebrate life’s major moment’s, relax after a hard day of work, or just enjoy great food and drinks. There is no doubt that staff and management will endure financial setbacks.

This fundraiser helps to ensure that despite one’s mistake today, the great staff that make up a place we call home are supported today, tomorrow, and in the time ahead.

All funds will be donated directly to Four Courts.


Editor’s Note: Mike De Robbio works for Olympic Media, parent company for BPR.

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