Smoke causes emergency evacuation at Pass Christian Walmart

This morning it could have been a very dangerous situation if employees and shoppers didn’t evacuate a Walmart in Pass Christian as dark smoke seeped into the supercenter’s building. News 25’s Gina Tomlinson was on the scene and shows us how quick work by store employees and new technology used by fire fighters turned out to have a safe ending.
Flashing lights, emergency vehicles, and fire trucks, not something Long Beach resident Rick Verble was expecting to see when he pulled up to shop at his local Walmart Monday morning, as employees and shoppers were forced to make an emergency exit when dark smoke seeped into the building. “If you had smoke inhalation that could cause a lot of damage, kill people actually,” said Verble.
But that wasn’t the case, thanks to the speedy evacuation of about a hundred people after a burnt AC unit forced smoke inside the Pass Christian store. Lieutenant Terry Lewis with Pass Christian Fire Department said, “Anytime you have a commercial building with a lot of customers in it there are a lot of dangers of everyone trying to get out at the same time. There could be smoke inhalation.”
Firefighters say the AC unit was on the roof of the building and they used new technology to locate the source of the smoke. “We used our thermal imagery camera. It showed us where the heat was, which unit was hotter than the others and we were able to find it right away,” said Lt. Lewis.
Walmart opened its doors to shoppers about an hour later thanks to the teamwork among fire crews and police from Pass Christian, Long Beach and Harrison County. “We’re glad to be neighbors with Long Beach. They help us out a lot with mutual aid whenever we have a larger structure and there could potentially be a fire,” said Lt. Lewis.
A bond community residents can rely on when their safety, and even lives, could be at risk. “Everything was handled professionally and no one got hurt, that’s a good thing,” said Verble.

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