PHOENIX (ABC NEWS) – A Phoenix Walmart was evacuated Wednesday night after a fireworks display caught fire, creating a chaotic scene inside the store, officials said.
Phoenix fire officials said someone set the fireworks display off inside the store near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road, causing the sprinklers to go off and smoke to fill the store.
Some customers initially complained about smoke inhalation, but all were treated on scene and expected to be O.K.
“Somebody could have been killed inside that store with that fire growing as fast as it did and as bad as it could have gotten,” said Phoenix Fire Captain Larry Subervi.
He has seen it with his own eyes. In a deadly fire in 2001 a suspect lit a fire inside a trash compactor. It quickly spread to a grocery store, resulting in the death of Phoenix firefighter Bret Tarver.
“One of our members lost his life in there and people don’t always think in those terms,” said Subervi. “They think they will just start a little fire but the reality is, you just can’t control it.”
Subervi says the two men suspected in this case could face up to a class two felony, which is just below a murder charge.
“A prison sentence for this could be up to 20 years and the fines that go on top of it,” said Subervi. “It can absolutely ruin someone’s life.”
There is extensive water and smoke damage inside the store, officials said.