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Volunteer firefighter likely saved lives in Arlington pub crash

As most people ran for cover, Timo Klotz ran toward the chaos.

ARLINGTON, Va. — We're learning more about what happened the night a driver crashed into a popular Arlington pub injuring more than a dozen people. It turns out a volunteer firefighter was there when it happened. In a matter of seconds he went from customer to the first first responder on the scene. His quick actions likely saved lives.

"As bad as it looked when I got in, the fact that everybody got out is, to me, it's unbelievable," Timo Klotz said.

If it's hard to believe everyone got out, then it's just as hard to understand how someone could run into a situation like the one facing Klotz.

"I was worried about the people inside," he said.

Klotz had just stepped out of the Ireland's Four Courts pub to repark his car when he heard what police say was an Uber driver crash through the front of the building. As most ran for cover, Klotz ran toward the chaos. 

RELATED: Rideshare driver cooperating with investigation after crashing into Arlington pub, injuring 15

"It was people everywhere," he said. 

Klotz said he and others, including a police officer who showed up, were gently trying to help several people who were pinned under debris. That's when his training as a volunteer firefighter told him they had to move quicker. 

He could tell that a small fire was about to explode into something much more dangerous. 

"We just started pulling on them and it was pretty harsh on them, but the fire was going and I was like, 'We have no time. We need to get them out,'" Klotz said. 

RELATED: Ireland's Four Courts owner devastated by fiery crash that injured 15

They did. Just in time.

"The fire just at that moment became so big that it was so hot on my face it started to burn," Klotz said.

Klotz was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. He says he still wonders what would have happened if he wasn't there to help.

"I don't like to think about that, but even now many nights where I think what if we didn't get them unstuck? It would have probably been a lot worse."

The crash itself still remains under investigation. According to an update from the pub, all of the people sent to the hospital from this crash are expected to recover. 

The business says it will do the same, too.

They're working on a short-term plan to reopen while they rebuild, and they're getting help from loyal customers who have raised more than $90,000 to help the staff while they're out of business. 

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