BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) — Investigators say a drunk driver is to blame for a fire at a liquor store last night. Meanwhile, a Marine is being called a hero for pulling the driver from the burning truck and building.
“The truck was completely on fire, so I parked my truck, put on the caution lights, and I ran up to the other truck, and there was a guy who was trying to get out of it,” Lcpl. David Shouse, a Marine at MCAS Cherry Point, said.
Shouse happened to be driving through Boiling Spring Lakes on his way home from buying a boat when he saw the fire at the ABC Store on George II Highway.
“I kind of like grabbed his arm, pulled him out of the truck and he landed on the ground on his back,” Shouse said. “About that time I put my arms under his arms and I grabbed his chest area and I pulled him back to the other side of the parking lot.”
The driver, Steven Earley, may be lucky to be alive, but he’s also charged with DWI. Police say he could face more charges as their investigation continues.
The crash set the ABC store on fire. Firefighters say it’s a good thing their station is so close, because the mix of alcohol and fire could have made things a lot worse.
“The potential was definitely there for an explosion, and with the flamable liquids that were inside the building and none of them were damaged,” BSL Fire Chief Chris Grace.
ABC Chairman Marty Kesmodel says the store was closed at the time. He’s happy no one else was hurt.
“Where the truck went through the store is normally where we have a clerk, so yes that could have been tragic,” Kesmodel said.
Shouse says he’s not a hero. He says he was just following his natural instincts.
“I’m just glad he’s OK,” Shouse said of Earley. “As long as he’s OK, everything’s good.”
Police say Earley had some burns and was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released.
No word yet on when the store will reopen.