SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - 911 calls from February's van crash into Savannah's Outback Steakhouse detail the immediate chaos after the wreck and the help customers gave to those hurt.
Dozens of people started calling 911 at 6:53 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2018, according to the audio recordings, asking for ambulances to help a pregnant woman injured in the collapse and kitchen workers burned by grease. Some ask for emergency help to control a gas leak and finally, other callers start asking for help because a van crashed into the building.
"I was just waiting for my food to be picked up, and I just saw a guy in a truck," one caller says. "He just drove really fast, jumped the curb. He drove into the side of the building, and it sounds like there's gas leaking from the back of the restaurant. The truck is almost completely in the restaurant."
Many callers were customers explaining the evacuation and injuries without knowing exactly what caused the chaos.
"Something happened in the kitchen," a caller says. "We weren't in the kitchen. We couldn't see anything. It was a huge loud noise, and someone said the ceilings' in or something's falling in? The whole building was shaking. It was bad."
Another caller tells someone with him, "Don't look! Cover your eyes. Cover your eyes. Cover your eyes," as he waits to speak with a 911 operator.
"I'm at the Outback on Abercorn, and they had a grease fire," he says. "Grease just blew up, and there's like five guys covered in burnt grease. They're burned terrible, ma'am. I'm telling you they're third-degree burns on these people. Saw people walking around with blisters all over them."
A 911 operator then asks a caller if anyone is tending to those burned and walks him through the steps to stop the burning.
"Sir, I need someone to give them some instructions to stop the burning," the operator says.
"Give me one second," the caller responds. "I'll be right there. Tell me. Tell me what to tell them to do."
The operator asks, "Is the clothing burned or smoldering?"
"There's just grease all over it," he answers. "They've got to take their clothing off. This is 911 on the phone right now. They said they've got to get their clothing off."
The operator then tells the caller to get some water or roll them into a coat or a blanket.
Others just cry through their call, not saying any full thoughts.
Savannah Police said Tuesday there is no update on the cause of the crash, and the department's Traffic Investigation Unit is still working on the case.
The department also said Outback Steakhouse owner Davey James is back in Savannah after being treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. SPD said the other two employees airlifted to Augusta, Quincy White and Ryan Gaines, are still being treated at the burn center. The director of communications and public relations at Doctors Hospital did not return a request for comment Tuesday on their current conditions.