Martinsburg, WV – Sprinkler system contains fire at Macy’s fulfillment center; No injuries reported

Macy’s officials do not know when the company’s fulfillment center north of Martinsburg will reopen, following a fire Saturday night.

The retailer had a limited crew at the 333 Caperton Blvd. facility Sunday, looking at the safety of the site and equipment, Macy’s spokeswoman Andrea Schwartz wrote in an email.

No one was hurt in the fire, but the blaze damaged about 2 percent of the materials in the 2 million-square-foot facility, Hedgesville Volunteer Fire Capt. Brian Mulligan said.

The fire remained under investigation by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office. Additional investigative work needs to be done before a cause is determined, Assistant State Fire Marshal George Harms wrote in an email late Sunday afternoon.

The fulfillment center employs approximately 5,000 people, 980 of whom were evacuated Saturday night, Schwartz wrote.

The volume at the Martinsburg-area facility was shifted to other “mega” fulfillment centers to serve customers, she wrote.

The holiday season is a busy time for the 24-hour fulfillment center.

The temperature outside was in the low 40s when workers were evacuated. Mulligan said he wasn’t sure how long people stood around before being sent home.

“It could have been worse. Everybody did an excellent job,” Mulligan said.

Company officials are thankful all the employees are “safe and accounted for, with no injuries,” Schwartz wrote.

The retailer is supporting fire officials with the investigation, she wrote.

The fire was reported at 7:39 p.m. Saturday, a Berkeley County 911 dispatcher said.

The sprinkler system activated, along with the fire alarm, and did a good job, Mulligan said.

“It kept it contained. Thank God,” Mulligan said.

The building is fine, but the fire extended up racks of packages three stories high, Mulligan said.

An estimated 60 firefighters responded from Hedgesville, Martinsburg, Bedington, Baker Heights, the West Virginia Air National Guard and Back Creek Valley. The rehab unit from Washington County also responded.

Mulligan said an airboat, on a trailer from Frederick County, Md., was backed up to a loading dock so its large fan could be used to eject smoke from the building. An airboat was similarly used at a Winchester, Va., warehouse fire in the last year or two.

There were a lot of burnt, wet packages at the Macy’s facility, he confirmed.

Macy’s personnel had been on “fire watch” in case the blaze reignited because the fire knocked out the alarm system, Mulligan said Sunday morning.

Firefighters were able to use water-supply hookups in the building, with one stationed every 500 feet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *