Fire in a store? Forget social media, evacuate!

Fire in a store? Forget social media. Evacuate.

Carlisle Fire Department Chief Randy O’Donnell has some advice for bystanders and occupants of both public and private buildings when a smoke or fire alarm goes off. Evacuate immediately. Drop everything. Get out as quickly as possible, and don’t stop to take video, or pictures.

The warning came after fire broke out in the toy section at 7:32 p.m. Wednesday at Carlisle’s Walmart store. The quick action of Walmart employees helped put the fire out quickly, but there were two minor injuries. Emergency medical personnel treated one on the scene and took another to Carlisle Hospital.

A number of customers stopped to take photos and videos of the fire. They then posted them to social media instead of immediately evacuating, O’Donnell said. One TicTok video shows people, including a child, standing around watching as flames shoot toward the ceiling.

“The photos and videos we viewed showed no sense of urgency for an evacuation,” O’Donnel said.

He called that disturbing in view of the type of combustible materials in the area where the fire started.

“(We) would like to remind our residents of the importance of rapid evacuation while at home, work or a public setting (in the event of a fire),” he said.

He said the takeaway from all of this is a person’s life is more important than property, or social media photos and videos.

So if you find yourself in a store when a fire alarm goes off, find the nearest exit

Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating the origins of the fire as a possible arson.

READ: Letterkenny Township fire: Firefighter escapes serious injury