Investigation continues into cause of Clovis Walmart fire

A Walmart spokesperson on Monday thanked local officials for their quick response to Sunday’s fire, but offered little information about the store’s future.

“We’re grateful to local emergency crews for their quick response to our store,” Walmart’s Amanda Foster wrote in an email.

“There were no injuries to associates or customers, and we’re currently assessing building damage. We’ll continue working with local authorities and focusing on the well-being of our associates.

“We are working with the concerns of our employees and assessing the situation. We have nothing more to add at this point.”

Fire at Clovis’ largest retail store was reported about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. The store was closed, but about 50 employees were inside working.

Officials have not speculated on the cause of the fire or even its origin though aerial photographs show the southeast section of the roof sustained the most damage.

Clovis Fire Chief Mike Nolen said on Monday a team of local, state and federal specialists have been working at the scene to learn the fire’s origin and cause. Nolen said the team is also assessing damages and evaluating the status of the building’s structure.

Nolen said investigators include representatives from the Clovis Fire Department, Clovis police, the New Mexico fire marshal’s office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Walmart regional managers.

Nolen said Walmart is also trying to determine what inventory was damaged and destroyed in the fire.

Clovis Public Works Department employees are also on the scene, Nolen said.

Public Works, Nolen said, had to block drains to prevent water used to fight the fire from draining out of the site. The water, he said, may contain toxic materials that should not leave the scene of the fire. The water kept at the site, he said, will be disposed of at a designated toxic waste site.

The building’s interior, he said, is still being ventilated to remove toxic contaminants.

While records for pharmacy customers have been transferred to Walmart’s Portales store, Nolen said there is discussion of moving in a “portable pharmacy” to serve customers who may not be able to travel to pick up prescriptions.

Nolen said his department’s job was to extinguish the fire.

The aftermath, he said, “We’re leaving to the experts.”

Clovis City Manager Justin Howalt said city Public Works crews placed sandbags around drains to minimize the escape of firefighting water to the city’s wastewater systems.

“Walmart is sending a haz-mat team to do cleanup,” Howalt said. The Walmart team was expected to arrive on Tuesday.

Howalt said that monitoring of water coming into the city’s wastewater treatment facility on Monday showed no excess contamination following the Walmart fire.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post