Big box stores catching fire


Decatur, Ill. (WCIA) — A fire started on the roof of a Decatur Walmart today on North Prospect at Walmart North. Firefighters say a control box in a solar panel caught fire.

Everyone was evacuated and no one was hurt, but just weeks ago, there was a fire at another big box store in Champaign. A heating-air conditioning unit at Target on Prospect caught fire.

Flames could be seen from the roof. Everyone was evacuated and no one was hurt there either. Fire departments say evacuating people can sometimes be difficult in such a large store, but alarms and sprinklers are a big help.

“Somebody could be overcome by smoke. They could be trying to hide somewhere in a place just to get away. We still have to go and clear. Its a big box, we don’t know who’s in there, they don’t know who’s in there,” Gary Gula, Champaign Fire Department Deputy Chief of Operations, said.

“That’s why generally you don’t see a big box store fire completely burnt up is because they have sprinkler heads that put out a lot more fire than in a smaller structure,” Neil Edler, Decatur Battalion Chief, said.

They said the sprinklers can keep the fire under control until they get there.

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