WASHINGTON CITY – An electrical fire triggered an evacuation of the Washington City Wal-Mart late Monday night and shut down the store for several hours into the next day.
Approximately 11:30 p.m., a structure fire was reported at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 625 W. Telegraph St., Washington City Fire Chief Matt Evans said. The report of the fire was accompanied by a “loud pop” in the back of the building, he said.
Washington City Police officers arrived on the scene prior to the Fire Department and evacuated the building. When Washington City Fire came on scene, a fire crew was sent inside to investigate the cause of the commotion.
“We had some light smoke in that back utility area,” Evans said, adding the fire crew discovered an electrical panel in the utility area that had shorted out.
An electrical surge had shorted out the panel inside Wal-Mart and traveled through the system until reaching a metered panel outside. That panel was blown open, and the meter attached to it was blown off the wall. The meter was found in the roadway by the building.
The fire itself was contained to the metal electrical panel where it had ignited the dust and consumed wire insulation inside of it, Evans said. It quickly burnt out, and fire crews ventilated the area to disperse the lingering smoke.
Washington City Power shut off power to the Wal-Mart building while a company electrician also dealt with the aftermath of the incident.
The incident caused the Washington City Wal-Mart to close the rest of the night and into Tuesday morning. All the while, employees stood at the entrances directing would-be costumers to nearby Wal-Mart Supercenters in Bloomington and Hurricane.
Reactions of the store’s patrons were a mix of bewilderment and irritation as they were sent away at the door.
The Washington City Wal-Mart is anticipated to reopen sometime Tuesday afternoon.
No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, Evans said.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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