Underwear fire forces evac at Walmart

Patrick Yost News

Customers and employees at Walmart were evacuated from the store after someone started a fire in the men’s underwear section last Thursday.

According to Madison Fire Marshall Gene Porter, the fire was reported at 12:40 p.m. Porter said authorities are currently reviewing Walmart surveillance video to try and determine who started the blaze.

“Someone started it. It is a suspicious fire and is being investigated,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of people of interest right now.”

The Madison Fire Department responded to the fire. Porter said a Walmart employee used a fire extinguisher to douse the burning underwear. Firefighters applied water to the burning clothes. “The fire was mostly out when we got there,” he said.

The fire caused light smoke in the building. Porter said the store was closed for approximately 40 minutes while firefighters cleared the burned clothing and smoke. He said the initial evacuation was orderly.

“Walmart employees did an excellent job evacuating the store.” Authorities believe the fire may have been set “as a diversion” for theft and are working with Walmart officials to determine if anything was taken during the event.  If convicted, the perpetrator of the fire could face a felony first degree arson charge.

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