pub smash | 

Bystanders hailed for saving punter’s lives after car crashes into Ireland's Four Courts bar

In this still image from Fox5 News, the car can be seen embedded in the wreckage of the pub

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

More than a dozen people were injured after a car crashed into an Irish bar in Arlington, Virginia and burst into flames.

The aftermath of the dramatic crash was captured on video that showed patrons fleeing the Ireland's Four Courts bar after the car ploughed into the building and went on fire.

Footage showed smoke pouring from the structure as a large group of people ran from away from the blaze. Firefighters then arrive and rush inside shortly before flames can be seen shooting out of the front of the building.

Two people can be seen carrying a woman away from the burning premises before placing her on the ground under a tree near the end of the block where a firefighter arrives to help.

Initially, police said four people had been taken to the hospital from the scene in critical condition. In all, 15 people were injured, including nine who were brought to local hospitals.

ARLnow previously reported that the quick actions of customers and first responders to treat the injured and move them away from the growing inferno had likely saved lives.

Investigators believe an Uber driver was behind the wheel of the vehicle.

However, Arlington County Police Department say detectives do not believe the crash was an intentional act and alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor. The driver of the vehicle is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

“The Arlington County Police Department continues to investigate the cause of Friday’s crash,” the police department said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

“Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives do not believe the crash was an intentional act and alcohol has been ruled out as a contributing factor. The driver of the vehicle is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.”

Dave Cahill, one of the restaurant’s managing partners, told FOX 5 that he is still trying to process what happened.

"The people that were injured yesterday are regular customers, and they've been with us to celebrate so many happy occasions. Our mind right now is with them and their families," Cahill said.

Police and firefighters arrived on the scene as employees and customers were still trying to flee the pub.

Photos and a TikTok video show police officers running into Four Courts as smoke billowed out. In frantic police radio transmissions, first arriving officers requested “a lot of ambulances” and reported “a lot of people” still inside the restaurant as fire spread.

“It’s an image I’ll never forget,” said Cahill.

Quick-thinking customers risked their own safety to save injured customers, the driver, and at least one passenger of the car, who was also hurt.

Photos taken as fire started to engulf the car and the pub show several people carrying one man — who can be seen in a photo taken seconds earlier slumped over in front of the car — to safety outside.

“Undoubtedly, the decisive actions of the arriving officers to run directly into the building and remove patrons saved lives,” said Police Chief Andy Penn. “During a developing emergency incident where seconds count, the men and women of the Arlington County Police Department exemplified their professionalism and unwavering commitment to providing the highest level of police services and I couldn’t be prouder of their response.”

He added: “The coordinated and collaborative response with the Arlington County Fire Department and our mutual aid partners demonstrates the operational readiness of first responders to act quickly during critical incidents to save lives. In tragic events such as these, we see the very best of our community. In addition to first responders, I commend the many witnesses and bystanders who sprang into action to assist those in need.”

Cahill said management will start to assess repairs and future plans next week, but noted that the kitchen and the newer rear of the pub is largely intact. The current hope is that insurance will help to pay employees and keep them on staff.

The community has rallied around the restaurant and has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for repairs. Over $72,000 had been raised by Tuesday morning

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