BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Walmart trucking trainer Rick Caylor says he went outside on his lunch break, saw black smoke filling the sky and knew something was wrong.
He says he was able to grab some video of the giant industrial plant fire in Bentonville moments after the first explosion.
“At lunch, I heard an explosion and come out and black smoke was pillaring up and things went haywire,” Caylor said.
Caylor says the scene was like nothing he had seen before.
“You don’t see something like that every day. It was pretty intense. Extremely intense,” Caylor said.
Caylor and others say they knew it was time to leave after the explosions erupted.
“We was about three hundred yards away so we couldn’t feel the heat but the ashes were coming down and stuff and once the explosions started we felt that we needed to get out of there,” Caylor said.
He says the firefighters did a great job of keeping the fire contained as best as possible.
“They did an amazing job cause that coulda got really bad really quick,” Caylor said.
Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Boydston says the investigation into the cause of the fire will begin as soon as agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrive.
“I can tell you ATF will be here tomorrow and since the dollar loss in this particular fire, ATF always comes in and conducts an investigation with us,” Boydston said.
The President of United Industries Mark Ferm said once he evaluates the loss, the company can then determine when the plant can be up and running and get people back to work.
For now, United plans to pay workers regardless of whether or not they are on the cleanup crew.
As for the building, the fire chief says it is structurally intact and the fire had stayed near the silos outside in the back of the property.