Bodycam video shows moment police arrived at Peachtree City Walmart fire

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Someone may have intentionally set a fire at a Walmart Supercenter in Peachtree City on Wednesday evening, according to authorities.

Police are investigating preliminary indications that the blaze, which forced shoppers and employees to evacuate, was an act of arson, the Peachtree City Police Department announced in a news release Thursday afternoon.

The fire raged for hours overnight at the big box store at 2717 Ga. 54, drawing resources from fire departments in Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Fayette County and Coweta County before it was contained. The fire was finally extinguished around 4 a.m. Thursday, city officials said.

No one was seriously injured, but portions of the store’s interior were gutted and there was extensive damage to the roof. The store was closed Thursday and will remain shut down indefinitely. Police said there is not a timeline for when it will reopen.

Heavy smoke was billowing from the rear of the building when the first crews arrived shortly after 7:20 p.m., according to Wil Harbin, assistant chief of Peachtree City Fire Rescue.

Crews entered through the rear and encountered heavy flames in the retail area of the store. They battled the fire for several minutes until trusses from the collapsing roof began falling to the ground around them, Harbin said.

That’s when the firefighters backed off and crews began using tower ladders to attack the flames.

Police also refuted rumors that firefighters had an issue with insufficient water pressure while battling the blaze. Officials noted in Thursday’s release that the store’s sprinkler system worked properly during the ordeal.

Cellphone video shared with Channel 2 Action News showed huge flames licking the ceiling tresses as the store filled with thick, black smoke and employees ushered shoppers outside. Three Peachtree City police officers who helped with the evacuation were treated for smoke inhalation at Fayette Piedmont Hospital, Harbin said. They were released later in the evening.

Police are asking anyone inside the store when the fire started who may have witnessed “suspicious behavior” to come forward.

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