Firefighters from Tamaqua, Quakake, Hometown, Rush Township, and Ryan Township responded to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Hometown just after midnight today to halt a potentially-dangerous fire.
When firefighters arrived, they observed smoke emitting from the ceiling and all entry and exit points outside the lawn and garden department of the store. Initially, a number of employees noticed the fire and grabbed fire extinguishers to slow down the fire before firefighters got to the scene.
Firefighters arrived within a minute of the call and quickly took control of the situation. The store was evacuated.
Reportedly, the fire started after a ceiling heater turned on and ignited a pile of plastic flowers and other merchandise located high on racks and next to the heater. The fire and heat also initiated the store's fire suppression sprinkler system.
Smoke exhaust fans were placed by firefighters at exit and entry points to the store. Rush Township police, rescue squad, and Tamaqua ambulance also responded. The Tamaqua and Hometown fire police also responded and limited traffic.
The store reopened to the public a few hours after the fire, although a large section of the lawn and garden department is closed for repairs. No one was injured.