Virginia Beach

Jimmy John's employee lives the brand by putting out fire before fire department arrives

Car fire occurs outside Virginia Beach store

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) -- A Jimmy John's employee lived up to the "freaky fast" branding by putting out flames before the fire department arrived. 

Around 7:30 p.m on Wednesday evening., Robert Panek said it was just another regular shift behind the counter of Jimmy John's Towne Center location off Constitution Drive. However that all quickly changed.

"Our driver, she came in and like, yelled across the room that there was a car on fire," Panek said. "I went around the counter and looked and I saw flames on the door."

Panek then looked over to the wall where the red fire extinguisher always hung. While he had no idea how to use it, he quickly grabbed it and quickly bolted out the door with his co-worker Patrick.

"The family was all out and away from the car and we were able to put the fire out," Panek said. "People yelling like, 'Jimmy John's!,' they are like 'y'all guys are heroes!'" 

Panek, however doesn't consider himself a hero, but the irony of the situation isn't lost on him.

"There is the commercial where Jimmy John's is faster than the fire department," Panek said. "It actually happened."

The Virginia Beach Fire Department never said anything to Panek and did not return a call requesting comment on this story.

Penek's experience has changed his outlook on the importance of having fire extinguishers nearby. 

 "Once I get a new car in the future I will probably have a fire extinguisher in there," Panek said.

He plans to attend George Mason University in the fall to start studying mechanical engineering, 


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