Nacogdoches community voices concern for Walmart employees following fire

Nacogdoches community voices concern for Walmart employees following fire

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Walmart Superstore in Nacogdoches continues to cope with extensive smoke damage left by a Sunday midnight fire.

Scott Gilbert remains in jail on a $20,000 bond for a fire investigators say he confessed to setting.

The smoke and fire left about 350 Walmart employees with a legitimate worry.

"I'm sure the employees are concerned are they going to have a job for three or four days,” said Nacogdoches Fire Department battalion chief Terry Westmoreland.

Today numerous Walmart employees were seen coming and going from the Superstore on North Street. A Walmart spokesperson states, ‘All associates have the option to maintain their work schedules during the process. Some associates are assisting in the store’s cleanup, while others are working at other nearby locations.’

That would be the Walmart Neighborhood Market where Timpson resident Monica Fitzgerald picked up a few items.

"You can usually check right on out. Today, though, as you can see, it's very busy."

Both Texas Workforce Solutions and the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation reached out to Walmart should their assistance be required. So far, it hasn’t.

There are some Facebook postings indicating some employees won't be able to work until Friday.

We spoke with one employee by phone. He told us he didn't work yesterday as assessment was occurring. After that, he's required to call in before reporting to his shift. Today he was at work, as were others, busy removing and restocking shelves. When a fire occurs, city health codes dictate the disposal of some items.

"If it is exposed to the elements and it's edible material, it has to be destroyed," explained Westmoreland.

The Walmart spokesperson said all departments in the store are being re-stocked and that associates are working as quickly as possible to reopen the store.

Meanwhile, a community concern for the employees who work for the major employer won't go away until the doors re-open.

“They’re part of our community. We’re in this all together, I guess,” said Fitzgerald as she loaded her Walmart sacks.

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