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Lawrence Reese Discharged From Hospital After Sub Shop Explosion in Lorton

He's a hard man to keep down.

Lawrence Reese, owner of The Sub Shop, was discharged Thursday from the Washington Burn Center, and the road to recovery will be long and painful. His faced is singed, and his arms, torso and legs are covered in third-degree burns and bandaged. On Wednesday morning, an incendiary device exploded inside of his business, with him also inside.  

"It happened so fast in front of me. It's unbelievable that this happened while I was there. This is serious," said Reese from his hospital room, to Patch. "I came in to open the store in my own jolly way. I propped my door open, and I had a phone call and I went in the back to get my dolly. I rolled the dolly out and was excited because the store was so brand new. Have you seen it? I just put the TV set up, and I had the place looking beautiful."

The Sub Shop, located at 9504 Richmond Hwy., has seen its share of troubles. Two years ago, the restaurant and a doctor's office next door were destroyed by an electrical fire. In October 2012, a thief broke in through the roof and tore up the interior of the Sub Shop and spray-painted the exterior.  

"All I can remember is pulling the dolly out and I started unloading all the groceries from my truck like Mr. Bigshot, as usual, and I go back in the store and I go to turn on the 'open' sign and when I did that and I walked halfway into the store, and I don't know if I heard something, but by the time I turned around, I hear this 'Boom! Boom!' All I could do was hit the floor from the impact." 

The blast came from inside the shop near the bathroom, said Reese. "It was a heavy blast. It happened so fast. It was a rush of fire, pal. I hit the floor, and I almost felt like I got dragged out. I felt like someone stepped on me, but my fingers ain't broke. But you give me a day or so, let me get my thoughts together." 

Reese doesn't remember escaping the Sub Shop.

A black male was seen running from the scene on foot, possibly injured. 

"I didn't see any of that. None of it. I didn't see anybody running," said Reese. "I thought I saw two people, but I was blazed out of my head, all the jumping around and the hoopla. My adrenaline was running. The last thing I remember after the blast - was them yelling outside from the thrift store next door."

Reese's 26-year-old son, Lance, was working at Mercedes Benz of Alexandria when he saw the news of the explosion on television.

"I thought, 'Nah, they must be talking about old news, about that fire in 2010,'" he said. "But the next three hours were the most intense of my life. You've got to count your blessings, because today is Feb. 7, and it doesn't say anywhere in writing that you're promised to make it to Feb. 8. You're not promised tomorrow, so live for today and love everybody for today."

Lance Reese described his father as a force of positive energy. "My dad, in a few words, is very stern, very firm, a go-getter and not a quitter," he said. "He'll just keep on going. He'll recover, he'll be on his feet again and he'll rebuild it. And he'll get rid of that cane, too."

Reese's wife, Lynnette, said that her husband has never wanted to hurt anyone. "He built his business from the ground up," she said. "I'm not OK, but he's going to be OK. He's hanging in there."  

Reese doesn't suffer fools lightly, and has no idea who could have committed the act. "I cuss a lot of people out at various and different times," he said. "'I can't use the bathroom? F#*@ you!' Well, F#*@ you too. It happens on a daily basis. And I keep going at it and going at it and going at it. I don't care about how they feel and come at me like that. They don't want to see somebody succeed. It's embarrassing to them, because they can't succeed themselves."   

How is Reese feeling?

"I'm ready to get out of here. This ain't no fun. I want to go home, and get done what needs to be done to me to heal," he said. "I'm going to go back, relax my mind, and visualize what happened."

Will the Sub Shop be rebuilt once more? 

"Yeah, why not?" said Reese. "It ain't about winning. It's about business. Everything is about business, and that's what it's always been about. We can't live without the excitement of owning the business. This is embarrassing, and I'm going to assess this for what it is and rebuild."

Read: UPDATE: Fire Officials Say Explosion Intentional at The Sub Shop in Lorton

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.

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Erik Normark February 07, 2013 at 10:53 PM
My son and I had lunch there a few weeks back, and was very warmly welcomed by Mr. Reese. The food was awesome. He and his family are in our prayers.
Rena February 07, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Mr. Lawrence (Reese), its Jersey Girl, I am so glad to see and hear that you are doing ok. I have been bragging about your shop since the first time I eat there. It is the best food I had since moving to Virginia and I will continue to brag until you reopen. You and your family are in our prayers. OLD SCHOOL IS THE BEST MEDICINE!!! Take care and see you soon.
Cravaro February 08, 2013 at 02:33 AM
I've eaten here and met Lawrence. This is tragic. He is such a kind man and enjoys what he does and does a great service to the neighborhood. The idiot (s) that did this to Mr. Reese need to be caught and punished.
Dick Kennedy February 08, 2013 at 12:10 PM
Please keep us updated on this and let us know when he is open for business again--I haven't been there before but now I definitely want to try it.
Karen Moore February 08, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Many in the community would be interested to know if there's anything that can be done to help Mr. Reese get his store opened. Once the police are finished with the crime scene perhaps a group cleanup could be organized? Would the Patch please update us on that possibility?
Daniela February 08, 2013 at 12:54 PM
This guy is a great role model for me! I grew up in Lorton and was excited to see a black owned business open in the area. I go to Virginia Comminwealth University and when I come home from break I'd be sure to stop by The Sub Shop. I would ask him questions about how he started his own business b/c I'd hope to do so one day myself. He would give me advice as well as tell me his story. I'm sad to hear about this and I'll keep him and his family in my prayers. This guy is the true definition of a go getter, self started and most importantly a business man! We fall down but we get up. True story for this guy. God bless!
Tracy Bank February 08, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Keep up your spirits, Mr. Reese. We'll be back when you open your doors again!
Gail Cantin February 08, 2013 at 03:26 PM
We wish you all the best Mr. Reese. Get well!
Sally Spangler February 08, 2013 at 06:20 PM
I am very glad you are at least able to leave the hospital after the explosion. I wish you the best and quickest healing. I also wish you the best. I hope you insurance covers he damage to yourself and your sub shop!
lynnette reese February 08, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Thanks everyone for all the well wishes from the Reese family , he is doing as well as can be expected !!!!!!!
Suzanne L. Schaefer February 08, 2013 at 07:23 PM
My prayers are with you, Big L, Lynette, and Little Ls. I can't believe this happened to your lovely family. You have to get well soon and rebuild, Big L, because where else can I buy the best little steak and cheese sub in Lorton? I'm with you all in spirit..."Fergie"
Tracy February 08, 2013 at 07:52 PM
I was so heartbroken to hear this. Lawrence is the kindest, most giving man, and my family loves to go there, see him, and order the great food. Please know that there are many in the community who love you and hope you recover soon.
Mrs. Catherine B. Curtis February 10, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Intercession - Intervention (Book) The time not to pray is when you can lend a helping hand. Many hands make light work. Financially help is always needed since his source of income has been destroyed. Let's give a true helping hand. I heard about this story on the news. I would like to give a donation, but I don't have an address.

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