ARLINGTON, Va. — Among the 15 people injured in a fiery crash at a popular bar during happy hour in Arlington were three staff members.
The managing partner of Ireland's Four Courts said it could have been worse, but business was lighter than usual. His injured employees were hospitalized but should make a full recovery.
"This has been a traumatic experience for everybody involved," Dave Cahill of Ireland's Four Courts said. "We will regroup and we will be back, but we're devastated. It will take a little while to process this right now."
Cahill was with 15 of his employees when the driver of a car crashed into the pub on Wilson Boulevard around 6:45 p.m. on Friday.
Authorities said it was a rideshare driver and a passenger in the vehicle when it crashed. They note the driver left the roadway, but what exactly caused him to crash into the building remains under investigation.
Witnesses said the car was driving down North Courthouse Boulevard before the impact.
The wreck sparked a fire that enveloped the interior of the business. Cell phone videos from witnesses captured flames spewing out and thick smoke billowing from the back. One video obtained by WUSA9 showed witnesses carrying one of the injured individuals away from the scene.
Cahill shared pictures of extensive damage inside the restaurant from the crash and fire.
"I was in the back when we just heard a massive explosion," Cahill said. "It takes a lot to scare me but on a scale from 1 to 10, I was 20."
A customer inside at the time, who wanted to remain anonymous, thought a bomb exploded. The host initially asked if her family wanted to sit outside but she chose to be inside.
As the business remained boarded up with a sign saying it was unsafe to occupy, many people stopped by to see the damage for themselves.
The pub first opened in 1996 and garnered many frequent customers including Mike De Robbio, who said he's been a regular since 2018.
"This is a staple of the community without question," De Robbio said. "It's up to us as patrons and frequenters of the bars to step up and help these guys with whatever they need."
De Robbio and his friends started a GoFundMe page, approved by Cahill, to help with any expenses. In 17 hours, the page raised more than $9,000.
"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," De Robbio wrote on the page. "There is no doubt that staff and management will endure financial setbacks."
Nine patients were transported to area hospitals. Two remain in critical condition, one is in serious but stable condition and six were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Additionally, six patients were treated and released on scene.
"We just want to keep all our injured people in our thoughts and prayers," Cahill stressed.