PLAINFIELD, Ind. — Plainfield fire crews were able to leave the scene of a Walmart distribution center around 4 p.m. Saturday for the first time since a massive fire broke out around noon Wednesday.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far about the fire crews’ efforts and the effects of the fire.
Why are they just now leaving?
Firefighters remained on the scene for more than two days to ensure all hot spots in the area had been eliminated due to the fire’s size.
The fire started around 12 p.m. Wednesday at the Walmart distribution center located at 9590 Allpoints Parkway. Smoke from the large fire was visible from several miles away and even showed up on weather radar.
Crews reported still encountering smoldering areas early Saturday morning, Plainfield Director of Communications Stephanie Singh said.
What about the fire’s debris?
Firefighters said they saw some smoldering debris early Saturday morning in some of the trailers on the perimeter of the building.
Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency have released their findings on debris that ended up scattering to neighboring yards. According to the report, the debris was found to contain no asbestos, Singh said.
Are surrounding roads reopened?
Hendricks County Road 100 South, which was closed over the past two days due to the fire, has now reopened to traffic, according to Singh.
What has happened to distribution center employees?
According to Plainfield Fire Chief Brent Anderson and Walmart officials, the warehouse’s approximately 1,000 employees were all able to escape and are accounted for.
Plainfield school buses then transported the workers to a reunification site on Smith Road. As of 6 p.m. Saturday, Singh said employees are still not being allowed to retrieve any personal items within the facility’s danger zone, which has been marked off by caution tape.
A Walmart spokesperson said all affected workers will be paid for 40 hours this week, plus any overtime, as the facility remains closed.
What’s happening at the scene now?
The 1.2 million square foot structure has now been deemed safe for investigators to begin their investigation into the fire’s cause. ATF Special Agent Jason Walsh said that as of 8 a.m. Friday, the entire ATF Response Team is in place.
Walsh added that while the weather has slowed the team down a little, they will conduct their investigation as quickly and safely as possible.
For more information on the fire, click here.