Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Reports: Walmart fire second in less than 12 hours

Emergency responders were called to the scene of a grass fire on the “backside” of Walmart at 4:13 p.m. Saturday, and police were “looking for a suspect,” Clovis Fire Department records show.

The incident, which the fire department described as a “brush fire,” took less than 30 minutes to extinguish, Deputy Fire Chief Fay Craigmile said Wednesday afternoon.

She did not know if that fire was related to the significant blaze that collapsed the store’s roof less than 12 hours later on Sunday morning.

"There is nothing tying the two but there is also nothing saying no," Clovis Police Chief Roy Rice said in response to a question about whether the fires could be related.

"We aren't far enough into the investigation to determine anything. Especially since (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms) is working it."

According to fire department reports, Craigmile said a caller reported “visible flames” were seen on the “southwest corner” of Walmart property Saturday afternoon.

A “small 10 foot by 20 foot fire” was contained to the area, she said. “Engine 2 attacked the fire … no property or structures damaged.”

“The whole thing took about 26 minutes.”

Craigmile said a dispatcher reported “they were looking for a suspect” who may have started the fire, but reports make no mention of whether any suspect was located or whether the fire was started intentionally or accidentally.

Police call logs provided to The News each weekday make no mention of a Saturday afternoon fire near Walmart.

Officials on Wednesday had not released any information about the cause of Sunday morning’s fire, which has closed the region’s largest retailer indefinitely. The state fire marshal's office, which is leading the investigation into the cause of the fire, did not return phone calls seeking comment on Wednesday.

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