Walmart evacuated Tuesday after filling with smoke

The Walmart on Bluemont Avenue was evacuated on Tuesday after smoke began filling the store. McKenzie Thurston, a Walmart employee, said the fire department was called as a precaution. (Avery Johnson | Collegian Media Group)

The Walmart on Bluemont Avenue was evacuated around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after an electrical issue caused the store to fill with smoke.

McKenzie Thurston, freshman in biology, said she was working at Walmart during the evacuation.

“I witnessed my boss rushing across the store to go up to the roof,” Thurston said. “The generator went out, and it [was] caused by something outside [setting] one of the fuses off. It started to smoke and pushed all the smoke into the building, and we ended up having to evacuate the building.” 

Thurston said the Manhattan Fire Department was called to Walmart as a safety precaution and the building never caught fire. 

“The fire department came just to check and make sure there was no toxic stuff in the air and that nobody would end up getting sick from all the smoke,” Thurston said. “Nobody was hurt or injured … There were no actual flames.” 

Thurston said Walmart patrons should not be concerned about an electrical malfunction causing safety issues again.  

“It was a one time situation,” Thurston said. “With the weather being so hot our generators were working overtime trying to keep all of our fridges and coolers up and running, so it kind of just shut down. Everything is fixed. We’re back open and everything is fine.”