Walmart Has Closed Multiple Stores for Recent Fires—And Some May Not Reopen
More than one location has been set ablaze over the last year.
Millions of people across the U.S. rely on Walmart's stores to get their groceries and other necessities at a low cost. But like other retailers big and small, the company has not been immune to store closures. Last year, the big-box store closed multiple "underperforming" locations throughout the country. And that's not the only reason for shutdowns. Over the past few months, multiple Walmart stores have suffered from massive fires that were set intentionally. Now, there is some concern over the future of affected locations. Read on to find out more why shoppers are worried some Walmart stores won't reopen.
Walmart has dealt with fires at several stores over the last year.
In 2022, several of Walmart's stores have battled blazes. Back in August, a Walmart in Peachtree City, Georgia, was shuttered after a 14-year-old girl started a fire in the store's paper goods aisle, creating significant damage to the store, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
The next month, the retailer had to temporarily close a location in Selma, Alabama, after a small fire broke out in the back of the store on Sept. 30, The Selma Sun reported. That same Selma Walmart was then shuttered again in November after another fire was set in the store, causing damage in several areas, including the men's wear and children's departments, according to the newspaper.
Those aren't the only fires either. Other local news reports indicate that the retailer has experienced fires in cities such as Hammond, Louisiana; Webster, New York; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Barnwell, South Carolina. Now, some fires have sparked concerns over certain locations ever reopening.
Multiple stores in Georgia were recently hit.
Georgia Walmart locations seem to have been hit the hardest when it comes to fires.
In May 2022, Walmart was forced to temporarily close a location in Atlanta after a fire was set in the store's clothing department, CBS 46 reported. That same store on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive was targeted again recently with an intentional fire set right before Christmas, 11Alive reported.
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, Walmart store 3008 with be closed for the remainder of the day," the location's official Facebook page posted on Dec. 24, directing customers to another nearby Atlanta Walmart on Howell Mill Road.
Just days later, a fire was also set inside the Walmart on Howell Mill Road. Atlanta Police and Fire were called to this location on Dec. 28 after a blaze began in the clothing section of the store, according to 11Alive.
"Unfortunately, due to an emergency event, our store is temporarily closed," the second Atlanta Walmart store wrote on its official Facebook page. "We are continuing to work with local law enforcement and will reopen as soon as possible."
Both of these Walmart stores are still closed.
The two Atlanta stores are still shuttered following their late-December fires. On Jan. 13, both locations posted updates to their official Facebook pages.
"Hello to my Walmart family! Unfortunately our location is temporarily closed," the Walmart on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive wrote.
The other store gave a similar notice: "Good Morning Customers, 1801 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta GA Walmart is temporarily closed. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause."
In both posts, the separate Walmart stores advised customers to shop at a different location in Atlanta during the continued closures.
"Please visit our Cascade location for service," the Walmart store on Howell Mill Road wrote. The Cascade store in Atlanta is located on Research Center Drive, which is about a 15-minute drive from the Howell Mill location and a 20-minute drive from the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive store.
Some shoppers are worried one of the locations will never reopen.
Walmart has restored service in most locations following major fires. In Dec. 2022, the retailer partially reopened its store in Peachtree City after its disastrous blaze four months earlier, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Walmart worked to quickly repair the roof of this location in order to reopen portions of the store for holiday shoppers, but still has other damage to fix from the fire, according to the newspaper.
The company is also in the middle of repairing the Howell Mill Road store in Atlanta, according to 11Alive. The news outlet reported seeing work being done at the location on Jan. 16.
But the same can't be said for the other Atlanta Walmart on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. When stopping by that store on the same day, 11Alive reported that its entrance was boarded up, and there was no sign of work being done. This location is also currently marked as "Permanently Closed" on Google, causing concern among customers.
It "says permanently closed," one person commented on the store's latest Facebook post on Jan. 13. "I don't like that Walmart on Cascade. I loved the Walmart on MLK."
Best Life reached out to Walmart about the store on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, but has not yet heard back. However, Atlanta City Councilman Byron Amos recently put out a statement concerning the location, indicating that nothing has been decided, according to 11Alive.
"Recently, there has been an increase in speculation regarding the ongoing concerns with the temporary closing of the Walmart location in Vine City on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive," Amos said. "I have maintained ongoing communication with Walmart corporate and store leadership. At this moment, Walmart has not made a decision on the next steps for the location."
The councilman added, "As of now, information related to the store closure are only rumors. My office is working with Walmart Inc. to plan the next possible course for the store. I recognize the deep void that the temporary closure has left the community. I am committed to working with Walmart, NPU-L, and members of the community to find a successful resolution to this ongoing store closure."