The owner of a Lorton sub shop who was seriously burned in an explosion inside his place is at home Thursday night and speaking out about the crime.
Lawrence Reese says he can't say for certain what happened, but right now, he refuses to believe that anyone would want to harm him.
But Fairfax County police and fire investigators say the blaze that damaged this Lorton sub shop was intentionally set. Reese barely made it out alive.
"All I remember is a hail of fire hit me," Reese says.
Witnesses at the thrift store next to Reese's shop say a man had asked to use their bathroom and was denied. Some think he may have slipped into the sub shop and set it on fire, possibly with a Molotov cocktail that backfired.
Reese says he never saw anyone, but clearly he wasn't alone in the shop.
"Either someone stepped on me in that blaze of fire or they just dragged me to the doorway," says Reese.
But not before he was severely burned. He refuses to believe someone was going after him.
"I don't have that kind of enemy," says Reese.
But his shop has been targeted before. A week after he stopped a guy painting graffiti on a doctor's office, someone painted up his shop. In October, a vandal got in through the attic and ransacked the shop.
Each time, he reopened and continued to serve up his steak and cheese sandwiches with a smile.
"You can come in, in your worst mood ever, and by the time you leave, you're laughing and telling me you can't wait until you can come back," Reese says.
The father of five is vowing to reopen the shop he had just finished remodeling in December.
"It was just the way I wanted it, perfection," says Reese.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text "TIP187" plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.