ARLINGTON, Va. — At least 14 people were injured Friday night after a vehicle slammed into a pub in northern Virginia and caused a fire, authorities said.
According to the Arlington Fire Department, eight people were taken to area hospitals. Four were in critical condition and four had injuries that were considered not to be life-threatening, WJLA-TV reported. Six people were treated at the scene and released, according to the television station.
The crash occurred at Ireland’s Four Courts pub and restaurant in Arlington at about 6:45 p.m. EDT, WRC-TV reported. The restaurant issued a statement on Twitter, saying it was “devastated” by the accident.
“I was just talking to some regulars that come in and I heard a bang,” Mary Reilly, a server at the pub, told WRC. “We all heard a bang, 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.”
The building was evacuated after the crash, WJLA reported. Arlington County building engineers have evaluated the structure and say it is structurally sound but cannot be reoccupied at this time.
An investigation is ongoing to determine what caused the motorist to drive into the building, authorities said.
Reilly said she did not see the vehicle but witnessed plenty of smoke and debris.
“I thought the whole place was just going to explode,” Reilly told WRC. “It’s the grace of God that we weren’t busy tonight. Of course, servers (and) bartenders complain that we’re not busy, but we’re usually packed.
“That top bar where the car went through is usually packed.”
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