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Electrical fire causes Walmart to clear store

Electrical fire causes Walmart to clear store

August 8th, 2011 in News

Walmart reopens shortly after an electrical fire caused store employees to evacuate the building Monday evening.

Photo by Mandi Steele

Fulton Walmart customers, some with full carts, had to evacuate the store Monday evening after an electrical fire ignited in a meat display case.

At 6:17 p.m. Fulton Fire Department was dispatched to Walmart. Assistant Chief Kevin Coffelt said the electrical wiring going to a light in a meat display case shorted out, causing the wiring to catch on fire. He said there was some smoke in the building when the department arrived, but Walmart employees had already put the fire out with an extinguisher.

"They cleared the store, and they were evacuating when dispatch sent out the call," Coffelt said.

By extinguishing the fire, pulling the alarm, and evacuating the building, Coffelt said "the employees reacted responsibly."

The store closed down for about an hour and half during the brief fire that damaged the poultry/pork meat case. Some employees directed traffic away from the store's parking lot while the store was closed. Two pumper fire trucks and a rescue squad responded, and the Fulton Police Department assisted with directing traffic. There were no injuries.

Tina Hoover, of Fulton, said she had just pulled into the parking lot when fire trucks drove up to the store. She was waiting in her car outside the building when she overheard someone say the doors may not reopen for a couple of hours.

"I was hoping that they would reopen," Hoover said, adding that she had decided to go home instead of wait any longer.

Coffelt said the damages were estimated at about $5,000, and the department had cleared the scene by 7:07 p.m. FFD investigators ruled the fire was accidental.

Walmart managers refused to comment on the incident, referring all questions to corporate media relations. Media relations personnel were unavailable Monday evening.