‘A miracle,’ Teen driver survives 7-story plunge into hardware store

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HOUSTON – A Texas teen is lucky to be alive after driving off of a parking garage and falling seven stories before his vehicle slammed into the roof of a hardware store Sunday afternoon.

While at his daughter’s bridal shower, Doug Hermance, of Westheimer Plumbing & Hardware in Houston, got a call saying a car had fallen into his store.

His initial reaction was to think the call was a joke, “How can that possibly happen? That was nothing we would’ve expected.”

Hermance said he came to his business and saw a hole in the wall of the parking garage behind the building.

When Hermance went into his business with the fire department, the space was already flooded with three to four inches of water and the wiring of the business damaged.

The driver, who, according to the Houston Fire Department, was relatively coherent, was locked in the business trying to get out of the door after falling.

“It’s unbelievable for anybody to live through that,” Hermance said.

Captain Al Castillo of the Houston Fire Department confirmed the car fell seven stories from the parking garage, according to KIAH.

According to Castillo, the driver was a teenager who was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in stable condition after suffering minor cuts and a head injury.

Although Castillo said it was a “miracle” the driver wasn’t hurt more, he added “Our main concern here too is not just the patient but also the business. If the vehicle would have caught on fire on the roof, then we would have had a commercial fire here.”

After being in business for about six years, this is the first time something like this has happened to Hermance.

“It’s crazy. It’s gonna be a challenge to figure out," he said. "Fortunately, our warehouse is in a separate location and we can operate out of there, but it will be a challenge with our business to, you know, take care of everybody under the circumstances."

Hermance’s landlord said it may take up to three months for the damage to be repaired.

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