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Monday night fire closes Super Wal-Mart in Kannapolis

Staff report
CONCORD ó Firefighters spent about four hours getting smoke out of the Wal-Mart Supercenter near Kannapolis after a Monday night blaze.
The store, which is at 2420 SuperCenter Drive at the border of Concord and Kannapolis, remains closed.
Firefighters were dispatched to the blaze at 11:16 p.m., according to the Concord Fire and Life Safety Department.
By the time they got there about five minutes later, the flames were extinguished, said Norman Franklin, public information officer for Fire Department.
“The sprinkler system activated and basically put the fire out,” Franklin said.
The fire likely started in the back of the store in the crafts department, Franklin said. But heavy smoke filled the entire store.
“Now it’s in all the clothes, all the towels, all the fruits and vegetables,” Franklin said.
Firefighters brought in about a dozen large fans to help clear the smoke, and they also opened a skylight in the store’s ceiling to let smoke escape, he said.
Franklin said a store manager told him the store might reopen in a day or two. But that appears unlikely.
“A lot of stuff has to be cleaned up because you’re going to have that smoke smell in there,” he said.
Wal-Mart employees were allowed back in the store around 4 a.m. Monday to start cleaning up, Franklin said.
The cause of the blaze remained under investigation Tuesday, officials said.
One person who left a comment on the Salisbury Post’s Web site said, “I was inside shopping while the blaze struck. The flames were all the way up to the ceiling. Panic broke out, and everyone was running for their lives. It wasn’t all that bad but a lot of damage. “While standing outside waiting for the firefighters, I was talking to some people … and they all said that it was a young kid that started the fire. The young kid took a lighter to the fake flower, and (it) went up in flame.”
Five Concord Fire and Life Safety rescue units, with 19 firefighters, responded to the fire. The number of Kannapolis firefighters was not available.

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