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ATF team investigating Walmart fulfillment center fire in Plainfield

Image from drone video of the aftermath of Plainfield Walmart fulfillment center fire
Image from drone video of the aftermath of Plainfield Walmart fulfillment center fire(WTHR)
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 11:05 AM EDT
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PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has its national response team joining the investigation into the Walmart fulfillment center fire in Plainfield, Indiana.

WPTA affiliate station WTHR reports the team began investigating at the site Friday and will coordinate with the Plainfield Fire Territory, the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Plainfield Police Department.

“ATF has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in investigating the cause and origin of fires,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy Canon of the Columbus Field Division. “We bring a unique set of skills to the scene to assist our state and local partners.”

The ATF team has veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; explosives detection canines; intelligence support, computer forensic support and audit support.

The team will begin by reconstructing the scene. They will then work to determine the origin of the fire, conduct interviews and sift through the debris for any evidence of arson.

Timeline of events

The Hendricks County Communications Center got a call at 11:57 a.m. March 16 about a fire at the Walmart fulfillment center, which is located at 9590 Allpoints Pkwy., near Ronald Reagan Parkway and East County Road 100 South.

Plainfield firefighters were training nearby and arrived three minutes later to the building fully engulfed. Firefighters tried to battle the flames inside until about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday and then moved to a defensive position outside.

As of 3 p.m., there were nearly 200 firefighters from 24 agencies battling the flames. Firefighters were looking at having to scale back operations due to water concerns. For hours, crews had been pumping water and said that effort was not sustainable. Crews were looking at how to get water from other areas, including a nearby pond. They said this would be a 24-hour operation.

Wednesday evening, the flames had died down, but the fire continued to burn and smoke still rose into the air over Hendricks County.

The building’s roof has been mostly destroyed, as well as most of the semis next to the building.

On Friday, the ATF and other investigators entered the building to begin reconstruction of the scene and try to determine the cause.

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