Massive Walmart Fire Leaves Several Unaccounted For
Several people were reportedly unaccounted for following a massive fire that broke out at a Walmart in West Palm Beach, Florida. The flames engulfed much of the retail area at the back of the store, and firefighters were working to bring the blaze under control.
Two firefighters were briefly unaccounted for
Several local, state, and federal partners are gathering to investigate the circumstances of the fire. No cause has been determined yet. The fire is still burning, but conditions should improve overnight.
The fire began around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday. It appears to have started on the third floor of the warehouse. Hundreds of workers were inside when it began. A fire sprinkler system activated, causing a blaze. The fire spread to the ceiling and back into the merchandise area. A massive plume of smoke could be seen from several miles away. The National Weather Service shared a 3D view of radar data showing the smoke plume.
The fire was reported as a 5-alarm blaze and remained a 5-alarm fire as of early Thursday afternoon. The building is over 1.2 million square feet. The fire is believed to be the largest in Peachtree City in several years.
Flames engulfed much of the retail area near the back of the store
Approximately 1,000 Walmart employees were inside the store when the fire broke out. The blaze engulfed the retail section near the back of the building. It spread to several neighboring vehicles. The fire destroyed much of the building’s roof and interior.
The Peachtree City Walmart will be closing to assess the damage. The fire is still being investigated, but officials say the cause is not yet known.
A TikTok video showed shoppers and carts escape the building as smoke was billowing. Firefighters have been working to put out the hot spots.
The National Weather Service has posted a three-dimensional view of the smoke plume from the fire. The agency said the blaze may have been intentionally set.
The cause of the fire could take weeks to determine. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is assisting with the investigation.
Firefighters were hitting hot spots to get the fire under control
Several agencies responded to a massive fire at a Walmart supercenter in Peachtree City, Georgia, Wednesday. At least a dozen fire departments were called in to extinguish the blaze. Firefighters were on the job throughout the night, hitting hot spots to get the fire under control.
Officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation. They have not given any details about what could have caused the blaze, but the investigation could take up to 24 hours.
A photo taken from the supercenter shows a black smoke plume billowing into the air. The plume appeared on weather radars and was visible for miles around. The smoke reportedly caused serious concerns about air quality.
The Walmart distribution center is a warehouse with approximately 1.2 million square feet of space. Officials say there were at least 1,000 employees inside the building when the fire broke out. All employees are believed to have escaped the fire safely.
Scaling back operations due to water concerns
Putting the fire to rest is a big task and there is no question that it took more than a few hundred workers, a couple of firefighting companies, and a slew of fire marshals to get the job done. Walmart has said that the company is looking at doing some permanent work at other locations shortly. The company has also said it has a disaster pay program in place and reassigned a few hundred workers to other duties. In a news release, the company said it has received a total of eighteen claims. For those who are not interested in joining the fray, Walmart has vowed to keep employees for at least a week if they can prove they were on the clock.
The biggest takeaway is that no one is sure what caused the fire, but the company is still looking at how it can best manage the aftermath. It’s also worth noting that the company has received some lawsuits in the past.
Impacts on surrounding areas
Earlier this week, a massive fire broke out at the Walmart distribution center in Plainfield, Indiana. The fire emitted billowing smoke that sent a plume of smoke into the air above Indianapolis. This plume was visible from miles away.
The fire is believed to have started on the third floor of the warehouse. Fire crews from several neighboring fire departments responded immediately. They worked in four-hour shifts, fighting the flames. However, some of the vehicles at the center were unable to be retrieved.
The fire emitted a plume of black smoke that was visible from miles away. Images on social media showed charred debris falling into the surrounding area. Local authorities are concerned about the effects of the smoke on air quality. They are also testing water samples for chemicals.