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Fire-damaged Wal-Mart reopens

| Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Wal-Mart store off Route 30 in Unity reopened on Sunday morning from being closed Saturday night because of a fire in the store's lawn and garden section, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said.

The lawn and garden area, where the fire occurred, remained closed as the cleanup continues, said Dianne Gee, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman at the company's corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

“We hope to have all of that cleaned up and ready to reopen early this week,” Gee said.

Damage from the fire was “minimal, and little merchandise was kept in the area where the fire occurred,” Gee said.

“We will be in good shape for the holidays,” Gee said.

Employees and customers evacuated the building, and no one was injured in the fire, which was reported at 10:05 p.m. A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, said Jerry McCracken, Whitney-Hostetter fire department assistant chief.

A few pallets of nonhazardous merchandise caught on fire in the lawn and garden section,McCracken said. The flames were contained inside the building, but smoke poured outside the building, McCracken said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and kept it from spreading to the main building, said Daniel Stevens, Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety spokesman.

The lawn and garden section sustained smoke and water damage, McCracken said.

A Wal-Mart employee, who declined to be identified, said they saw smoke coming from the lawn and garden section when they evacuated the building.

Firefighters at the scene called for the Westmoreland County Hazardous Materials Team 800 as a precaution because of potential air quality problems resulting from the fire, McCracken said.

Fire companies remained on the scene until about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, McCracken said.

“We appreciate the quick response from the firefighters and our customers' patience as we get things up and running again,” Gee said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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