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Small fire forces temporary closure of Barnwell Walmart

The cause is still under investigation. Fire officials say that while the fire wasn't large, the smoke it produced may have caused significantly more damage.
Fire truck.

BARNWELL, S.C. — A major retail store in a South Carolina town has been forced to close for an undetermined amount of time after a small fire on Friday afternoon.

According to Chief Tony Dicks with the Barnwell Fire Department, crews were called out to the Walmart on Dunbarton Boulevard to reports of a fire in the Home and Garden section.

Dicks said there was a good deal of Christmas and holiday merchandise in the location and, while shoppers and employees with fire extinguishers were quick to knock down the fire, it appears to have caused roughly $200 worth of damage. No injuries were reported.

The chief, however, said that the loss of other merchandise due to smoke damage could be much higher. In that respect, Dicks said this is the worst incident the store has seen since Walmart was first located in Barnwell County in the 1980s.

Fire crews remained on the scene until around 7 p.m. to help secure the scene while allowing smoke to clear.

At this point, he said it is too soon to say what caused the fire. The chief said that his department and police are working together to speak with witnesses, obtain surveillance video and find answers.

Chief Dicks added that there were electronic items in the area but it's unclear if they contributed to the fire.

In the meantime, Walmart remains closed to the general public, though, according to a Facebook page set up for the store, associates are being told to report for their regular shift times.

The same page said that company officials are working to assess the damage and reopen it as soon as possible.

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