LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) – Two people were sent to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns after a car went up in flames and exploded in North Carolina.
The explosion occurred outside of Speedy’s Barbecue on Monday evening in Lexington, where witnesses say it shook the whole building.
“I’ve never been hit with anything that hard before,” said Joel “Jay” Johnson, the manager at Speedy’s. “I almost relate it to falling off a third or fourth story [of a] building and landing on my chest.”
Several bystanders began filming after the car first caught fire. In one of the videos obtained by WGHP, Johnson can be seen in the left corner dressed in red. At the time, he was on the phone with 911.
“[The 911 operator] said that they had just got a call about a fire. And as soon as he said that, just this crazy-intense explosion happened, and we all basically turned and ran,” Johnson explained.
“We ended up losing … power to most of our building,” Johnson added. “The store next door lost every bit of their power. Melted the power lines above it. They had to replace it.”
“The whole restaurant shook from it,” said Lucas Bivens, another employee of Speedy’s.
The owner of the vehicle, who wants to remain anonymous, told WGHP he had a propane tank in the bed of his truck, and had pulled over once he noticed the cap had come off. The tank was also leaking, he said.
Moments after he and his passenger exited the vehicle, the truck went up in flames and later exploded.
The driver and his passenger were transported to the hospital with second-and third-degree burns to the face, neck and arms. Their family members are just thankful they’re still alive.
“I’m glad he’s OK,” the driver’s son told WGHP. “I just had talked to him, and had just seen him. I passed him on my way to work. It was really eye-opening to me to be appreciative of that because that easily could’ve easily been the last time I got to speak to him.”
Both victims have been released from the hospital.
The Lexington fire chief said the fire took 15 minutes to put out. In addition to the damage to nearby buildings, the explosion also damaged three vehicles in the lot.
Fire officials said no foul play is expected. An investigation is ongoing.