Van crashes into Nick's Patio, building evacuated

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The lunch rush at Nick’s Patio on Friday served up something out of the ordinary. A car crashed into the rear of the building which caused the entire building to be evacuated.

The driver said he lost control of the van and crashed into the cooler area in the back of the building. There was one employee in that area at the time of the crash, but he was OK.


The fire department said the driver of the van refused to go to the hospital, and was doing fine.


The owners of the restaurant said they were just happy that everyone was doing OK.


"We know that our customers are loyal customers and they know we'll be back. We're concerned more with the family and the gentleman and we'll take things as they come,” said Elaine Samoilis.


The South Bend Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team was called out to help and build a structure inside of the building where the car hit.


They even used their Tech Rescue Unit Truck for the first time since buying it in the summer of 2011.


"We replaced a larger pickup truck and a trailer, and put all of technical rescue equipment on one vehicle,” said Training Officer for South Bend Fire Department Darrell Eiler.


The truck is an old beverage truck converted into a moving tool shed. It’s stocked with everything from screws, hammers, lumber, and even saws.


Eiler said the tech rescue team has 36 members and covers seven counties in the area, and works to cover a number of different issues.


"Their main mission is building collapses, trench rescue, confined space, and high angle rescue,” said Eiler.


The restaurant was only closed for a couple hours and reopened after the car was removed.


Then it was back to business as normal. "A couple hours of inconvenience, but everybody is safe,” said Samoilis.

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