HOUSTON—The crowds suggest a new Walmart Supercenter is a big draw with bargains galore, but there’s one thing shoppers hadn’t bargained on: a fire in the shoe department.
“It was shoes,” said Christie Garcia. “They were in the boxes still.”
The 17-year-old captured it all on her cell phone. About 40 seconds long, it shows a commotion followed by smoke and flames. An employee ultimately uses a fire extinguisher to put it out as shoppers are evacuated.
“She’s always carrying that phone in her hand,” said grandmother Brenda Silva.
With $350 in fresh winnings from the lottery, Christie’s grandparents were treating her to new accessories for her cell phone. She never got the accessories, but she got the shot.
“Everyone is in there screaming, because it’s a fire,” said Garcia. “You’re not supposed to stay there.”
“Some guy was there, and he said, that’s what happens when they try to build a Walmart in the hood. I’m glad the Walmart is there. It’s so awesome. It’s so close by,” said Silva.
The fire, which is under investigation, comes less than a week after the store opened on Houston’s East End, bringing much needed grocery shopping options to an area where there are few. So far, sales have been through the roof.
“After the fire, the people were there waiting outside,” said Silva. “They were waiting to go back in.”
“We’ll have to come back another day,” said Garcia.
No doubt, so will countless others.