1 firefighter injured in Walmart distribution center blaze

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.


9:23 p.m. – Walmart worker shares concerns

Arianna Wityshyn worked at Walmart’s fulfillment center for about three weeks before the fire started.

Wityshyn works nights, so she was not at the facility during the fire. She is worried because she has yet to hear how the fire will affect her work in the future, Wityshyn said.

“We haven’t heard anything,” Wityshyn said. “All I was told was ‘don’t come tonight’ and silence ever since.”

The situation will be stressful for many fulfillment center employees, Wityshyn said.

“It’s towards the end of the month and the bills are starting to pile up,” Wityshyn said. “I know a lot of people who work there and live paycheck to paycheck, so not knowing what’s next is a little worrying.”

8:18 p.m. — Smoke seen on satellite imagery

Smoke from the Plainfield Walmart distribution center fire could be seen in satellite imagery as the fire grew, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service tweeted a short video satellite imagery showing smoke.

8:10 p.m. — Road closures and other updates from first responders

County Road 100 South between Smith Road and Ronald Reagan Parkway will be closed until further notice, according to a Facebook post from the Plainfield Police Department.

This section of the roadway may be closed for a few days and an update will be provided when the roadway reopens, according to the police department.

DO NOT TOUCH:A fire at Walmart’s fulfillment center has sent toxic debris into nearby neighborhoods

About 18 fire departments assisted the Plainfield Fire Territory battle the blaze Wednesday afternoon into the evening, including the Indianapolis Fire Department.

The initial call for the fire came at 11:57 a.m., according to IFD.

The fire department uploaded a several-minute video to YouTube showing crews battling the flames.

6:27 p.m. – Walmart employee worries about losing his job

Mario Cruz, who had worked in the storage department for three years at the distribution center, was picked up Wednesday evening at the reunification center.

He said he was worried about when he would be able to get his vehicle left in the parking lot and if employees like him would lose their jobs after the fire.

Cruz said they stock everything from clothes to food to electronics at the distribution center and there’s always a lot of cardboard inside.

5:47 p.m. — Firefighter injured in Plainfield blaze

Plainfield Fire Chief Brent Anderson encouraged residents near the blaze at a Walmart distribution center to continue sheltering in place late Wednesday afternoon. He asked residents to avoid touching debris from the fire that may fall into their yard.

A firefighter was slightly injured while battling the blaze, but was treated and released at the scene, Anderson said.

Plain fire:Photos and video show smoke billowing from Walmart’s fulfillment center

The distribution center that caught fire is about 1.2 million square feet and the firefighting operation is expected to last late into the evening, Anderson said. The fire is confined to the Walmart fulfillment center, he said.

The building’s fire system is what allowed all employees to safely evacuate the building, Anderson said.

“Everything was working properly, but this has such a fire load that it has overwhelmed our crews and our ability to put this fire out safely,” Anderson said. “Looks like there were a lot of clothes in the area where the fire started, wrapped in plastic and such.”

Fire crews were training nearby when the fire broke out and were on the scene within three minutes of notification, he said.

Several neighboring fire departments are assisting Plainfield FD and have trained to work together in a scenario like the Walmart distribution center fire, Anderson said.

“It doesn’t happen every day, but we train for it to happen every day,” Anderson said. We were well prepared.”

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Environmental Protection Agency arrived Wednesday to help test for hazardous materials and air quality issues caused by the fire, a- he declared.

“It’s the unknown,” Anderson said. “We are going to err on the side of caution at this time. We will treat everything as if it is dangerous.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be the lead agency to investigate the cause of the fire, which could take weeks, Anderson said.

“ATF is conducting interviews with select employees who were on site and in the area of ​​the fire,” Anderson said. “At this time, we have no idea what may have triggered this (and) no reason to believe it’s suspicious or anything. We will be doing our due diligence over the next few days or weeks for the discover.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Walmart facilities are closed to the public and employees cannot retrieve vehicles or other property from the site until authorities direct otherwise.

It will be some time before the scene comes to light, Plainfield Police Department Deputy Chief Joe Aldridge said.

4:18 p.m. — Reunification center set up for Walmart employees

Deputy Chief Joe Aldridge of Plainfield PD said a reunification center for Walmart employees has been set up at 1750 Smith Road. It’s a new facility from Amazon, he said.

EARLIER: Walmart distribution center fire

About 1,000 employees were at a Walmart distribution center in Plainfield on Wednesday afternoon when a fire broke out.

Crews battled the blaze as the fire sent large plumes of smoke into the air, visible for miles away. Small explosions could be heard as flames came out of trucks parked outside the building.

The distribution center structure fire, 9590 Allpoints Parkway, began around 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, according to a Facebook post from the Avon Police Department.

Each Walmart fulfillment center is over 1 million square feet and employs more than 600 people, unloading and shipping more than 200 trailers a day, according to a company page.

According to a 2014 press release, the Plainfield distribution center was listed at 1.2 million square feet.

“Walmart believes all employees are being accounted for at this time and being transported by Plainfield school buses to a reunification site,” Plainfield Police Department Deputy Chief Joe Aldridge said.

There were no reports of injured firefighters Wednesday afternoon, Aldridge said.

Residents of neighborhoods north of the facility are asked to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed, Aldridge said.

Plainfield Fire Chief Brent Anderson said nearby residents should shelter in place or stay away from the area. Residents should also avoid coming into contact with falling debris in their yard from the fire, he said.

“If you can think of it, it’s probably there,” Anderson said, speaking of the content inside the fulfillment center. “The noises and stuff you hear, yes, they’re described as ‘explosions’ but it’s the tractor-trailer tires and stuff that overheats and then ruptures.”

About 180 to 200 firefighters were at the scene Wednesday afternoon, Anderson said.

“We will soon have to reduce our operations here because of the water,” Anderson said. “We are looking at additional options. There is a pond locally that we can use water from. We are exploring all options at the moment, but we will soon have to slow down our operations here due to water consumption.”

Anderson said it could take weeks to investigate the cause of the fire, but said he believes contents inside the building played a role in its spread.

“The main contributor to the spread was the heavy content of the structure,” Anderson said. “This building is full of floor-to-ceiling multi-level content.”

The building had a “state-of-the-art” early warning system for fires that was working when crews arrived, Anderson said. The system may have been overwhelmed by the amount of material inside, but that remains to be determined, he said.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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