Walmart Is Closing This Store After a Fire—and Other Locations Have Been Hit
This dangerous trend is spreading between stores, leading to multiple Walmart closures.
Millions of us across the U.S. rely on Walmart's stores for our shopping needs. That makes it extra frustrating to arrive at your local Walmart only to be met with closed doors. This mega-retailer has shuttered stores throughout the country—both permanently, as shoppers in several states saw this last spring, and temporarily, like when hundreds of locations in the southeast were closed during Hurricane Ian. Now, Walmart is closing one store after a fire—and it's not the only location to have been hit. Read on to find out more about the fires impacting Walmart.
Walmart says that fire safety is one of its top priorities.
Walmart has long touted safety as a "top priority" in its stores, especially amid recent dangers like the COVID pandemic and increased gun violence in the U.S. The company has a Health & Safety compliance group whose main objective is to assist in in its "commitment to provide a comfortable and safe shopping experience for its customers and members and a healthy, safe workplace for associates and suppliers."
Walmart has specifically recognized that fire safety is one of its "top health and safety priorities." In the mid-2010s, the retailer led fire safety reviews in various retail markets after a deadly 2012 blaze killed 112 workers in a Bangladesh factory making and supplying clothes for Walmart. These reviews helped to "establish new processes and controls, improve store infrastructure, and evaluate future fire monitoring plans," according to Walmart.
"The company also initiated fire safety reviews in other markets to check the status of the company's fire safety compliance and response readiness," Walmart noted.
But now, the retailer is dealing with a surprising fire threat, including the closure of another store thanks to a recent blaze.
The retailer is now closing a location after a fire.
A Walmart in Alabama has closed its doors to the public following a recent fire, The Selma Sun reported on Nov. 6.
According to the newspaper, the Selma Fire Department was called to the retailer's store on Highland Avenue that evening due to a fire that was apparently started in the craft section of the store. No injuries were reported, but Walmart has temporarily shuttered the location due to smoke and water from the store's fire sprinklers.
As of midday Nov. 7, the Selma Walmart is still listed as "currently closed" on the company's Store Status tracker.
This is not the only Walmart to be recovering from a fire.
The Selma Sun reports that this is actually the second time this Walmart location has been shuttered in six weeks because of a fire. According to a previous report from the newspaper, Selma's Walmart was temporarily closed in early October after a small fire broke out in the back section of the store on Sept. 30. The location remained unopened to the public for two days, but as with the most recent fire, a Walmart representative told The Selma Sun that "there were no injuries" as a result of the first blaze.
While the Selma location has been hit twice, it's not the only Walmart store to have experienced a fire this year. According to the company's Store Status tracker, its store in Peachtree City, Georgia, is still closed as of Nov. 7. This Walmart location was initially shuttered on Aug. 24 after a fire erupted, causing significant damage to the store's interior and roof, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
Some of these fires may be connected to a social media challenge.
There may be a concerning trend connecting these Walmart fires. Selma police believe the first fire at the store in September was the result of teenagers carrying out a TikTok challenge, Dallas County Commissioner Vivian Rogers told The Selma Sun.
According to the newspaper, a deputy with the Dallas County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the first blaze was put out in the paper goods aisle, speculating that it was set to fulfill a trend for the social media app. The most recent Selma Walmart fire was started in the craft section of the store, which is near the paper goods aisle. Officials have not yet given insight into the potential cause of the latest fire.
There have been rumors that other Walmart fires in various cities, including Peachtree City, were connected to a TikTok challenge. According to The Citizen, most include a concerning similarity: The fires were set in the paper goods section of the stores. However, while Peachtree City police said they are aware of a recent TikTok trend involving Walmart fires, there is no information to suggest that this fire was part of a challenge, CBS46 reported. A 14-year-old girl was sentenced after admitting to starting the fire in the paper goods aisle, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Best Life reached out to Walmart about the recent fires and potential social media connection, but has not yet heard back.