Walmart evacuated after HVAC unit on roof catches fire

No injuries were reported after an HVAC unit on the roof at Walmart in Buckhannon caught fire Thursday evening.

The store was evacuated while firefighters searched for the cause of smoke that was detected inside the building at about 5:15 p.m.

A belt on the heating and air conditioning unit on the roof seized up and caught fire, causing smoke to circulate throughout the building, Buckhannon Fire Department Chief J.B. Kimble told My Buckhannon.

Kimble said firefighters quickly diagnosed the source of the smoke from the unique smell.

“There’s an odor that the belts put off, so as I entered, and a couple of the other guys entered, we could tell it’s typically what we smell in a belt fire,” Kimble said. “That’s why we made an immediate access to the roof, because that’s where all the [HVAC] systems are, and then we had a crew inside looking with heat sensors.”

After isolating the affected HVAC unit, the fire department worked to ensure there were no other issues and ventilate the building.

“Before we leave, we’ll make sure everything’s clear,” Kimble said.

The fire chief also reminded residents that it’s illegal to run over fire hoses, which can cost about $1,000 for a 100-foot section.

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