A 3-alarm fire broke out at a Southwest suburban Wal-Mart store this afternoon, but there were no reports of injuries.
"I was waiting to pay when store personnel were telling us too leave," Aleksandra Stasaitis told NBC Chicago. "I put down my things (and) walked out the store. Some were running, some were walking. It was an organized chaos. You couldn't tell there was a trace of fire in the store at the time, though. Then the alarm went off we walked out looked over our shoulders and saw huge black smoke."
Authorities said the fire started on the roof of the Hodgkins store, at 9450 W. Joliet Road, shortly after 1 p.m. The store is undergoing a renovation and expansion, but was still open to customers.
"We had a lot of flames showing, a lot of smoke, about midway back on the roof of Wal-Mart," said Pleasantview Fire Department Chief Dan Hermes. "It appeared to be a lot of roofing material that was on fire. And because it was in the middle, it was at a very difficult place to reach."
The Chicago Breaking News Center reported that nearby stores in the strip mall where the Wal-Mart is located were being evacuated. A Hodgkins police dispatcher said officers blocked off 63rd Street and all customer entry points to the Quarry shopping center near the fire.
"It was an interesting experience going to Wal-Mart today, for sure," said shopper Jeremy Obaslo.
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