By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (January 8, 2022) – Officials say at least one individual started a fire at the Lansing Walmart Friday night, forcing an evacuation and causing significant smoke and water damage at one of Lansing’s largest retail businesses.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Friday night, the Lansing Fire Department responded to a call at Walmart, located at 17625 Torrence Avenue in Lansing. Heavy smoke was discovered at the scene, caused by fires at two locations within the store.
Deputy Chief John Grady of the Lansing Fire Department said the two fires were separated by some distance, and together produced smoke that filled the building.
Responders had the fire under control within 15 minutes of arriving, according to a Lansing Fire Department press release. The release continued, “The actions of the store manager and the building’s sprinkler system kept the fires in check until firefighters arrived.”
Grady said a Walmart manager used a fire extinguisher to battle the one of the fires before first responders arrived.
Walmart fire set intentionally
“During the course of the investigation it was determined the fires were intentionally set by one or two individuals inside the store,” said the LFD release.
Grady explained that video security footage from the store led to the determination that the fire was intentional. It is unclear what was used to start the fires in the store.
Lansing’s Police and Fire Departments are working together to investigate the fire. Those with information are invited to call Investigator Kotecki at 708-895-7400 or Detective Miklusak at 708-895-7150.
Damage, no injuries
No store patrons or first responders reported any injuries as a result of the incident.
“The store was still being evacuated when our units first arrived. … It was relatively orderly. The store staff did a very good job at evacuating the building. Everyone did so safely, there were no injuries, slips, trips, or falls associated with the evacuation,” Grady said.
The fire damage to the store and inventory was kept “relatively minimal,” Grady said, and most of the damage was caused by smoke and water. Multiple vehicles from Chicago Fire and Water Restoration could be seen outside Walmart on Saturday afternoon.
Lansing Fire Department was aided on Friday by units from South Holland, Munster, Calumet City, Dolton, Glenwood, Thornton, Lynwood, Burnham, Homewood, East Hazel Crest, Tinley Park, Bud’s Ambulance, MABAS 24 Investigators, Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal, and MABAS 27’s Mobile Ventilation Unit.
Walmart closed — pharmacy needs
Walmart will be closed for the immediate future. Calls to the pharmacy on Saturday directed callers to contact the Walmart in Homewood for immediate pharmacy needs. The Homewood Walmart is located at 17550 S. Halsted Street and the phone number for the pharmacy is 708-755-1320. In addition to the Homewood Walmart, another nearby Walmart is located at 7850 Cabela Drrive in Hammond, IN. The phone number for that location is 219-989-0258.