Note: This story was last updated at 3 p.m.
Three people inside the restaurant had possible injuries and one of them was taken to the hospital after a pickup truck crashed into the side of the Waffle House on South Illinois Avenue just after noon Friday, police officers and workers said.
Emergency workers also checked out the male driver at the scene, but he declined to be taken to the hospital, authorities said.
The crash, whichÂ punched a hole in the wall behind the grill, occurred at about 12:08 p.m. Friday. The cause wasn’t immediately known, the Oak Ridge Police Department said.
There were reports that there had been a small explosion at the grill, but that hadn’t been confirmed, the ORPD said.
Several employees and customers inside the Waffle House reported hearing a boom or explosion.
“It sounded like it was blowing up,” server Deborah Driggers said. “All I remember is screaming, ‘Everyone out because we’ve got gas.'”
“I heard dishes falling and then I heard more dishes falling, and then I saw the grill move and Kelly move,” said server Heather Freeman, referring toÂ grill operator Kelly Watson. Several Waffle House employees said Watson was taken to the hospital.
Driggers said a coffee machine fell and hit her and another server and cook, and the two of them then fell into a third employee. The server and cook was burned on her shoulder, Driggers said.
“I just heard a big loud noise and then that coffee going everywhere,” cook and server Jasmine Freels said.
Freeman said there were about eight to 10 customers inside the restaurant at the time of the crash, as well as six employees.
Driggers said the coffee pot hit her on her right shoulder and ribs.
Freeman said there was brief chaos inside the restaurant, but then everyone quickly exited.
Customer Emily Nix, a volunteer firefighter in McMinn County who lives in Oak Ridge, said she dove to the floor, hurting her knee, elbow, and shoulder.
“I basically did a belly flop,” Nix said. “I felt glass coming, and I hit the the floor. I heard ‘boom,’ and everybody screaming, ‘Get out.'”
More information will be added as it becomes available.