TikTok challenge: Discover if Walmart fire began as a video dare

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Walmart store interior following the fire last week. Photo/Peachtree City Fire Department.
Walmart store interior following the fire last week. Photo/Peachtree City Fire Department.

While Peachtree City police are seeking to use video surveillance files to determine who started the blaze in the Walmart Superstore paper goods section, news reports are starting to crop up questioning whether a social media app was the carrier of a sick contest to start such a fire.

One theory is that the impetus may have originated on TikTok, a wildly popular carrier of brief videos sometimes containing “challenges” to users to produce responses to things like subjecting oneself — usually teenagers or younger — to ordeals like dumping frigid ice water onto their heads.

TikTok currently carries a number of videos depicting similar Walmart fires in various cities, but none so damaging as the blaze that shut down a Walmart Superstore in Peachtree City for an undetermined repair period last week. The similarity is that most of them began as fires set in the paper goods section of the stores.

Preliminary investigation suggests the fire was intentionally set, Peachtree City police report.

The Peachtree City Fire Department, with assistance from Coweta County, Fayetteville, and Fayette County Fire Departments battled the fire from shortly after 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, throughout the night until it was extinguished around 4 a.m. Thursday.

Fire officials are saying there was sufficient water pressure available during the prolonged fire and the store’s sprinkler system did function as designed. 

The store did suffer extensive damage to the interior and roof, officials said. There is no current timeline on when the store will be reopened.

Retail ares of Walmart after the fire last week. Photo/Peachtree City Fire Department.
Retail area of Walmart after the fire last week. Photo/Peachtree City Fire Department.
Flames shoot from a rack on the aisle containing paper products like toilet paper and paper plates toward the rear of the Walmart Superstore in Peachtree City. The photo was taken moments after the fire blazed up and was shared on the Peachtree City Police Department's Facebook page.
Flames shoot from a rack on the aisle containing paper products like toilet paper and paper plates toward the rear of the Walmart Superstore in Peachtree City. The photo was taken moments after the fire blazed up and was shared on the Peachtree City Police Department’s Facebook page.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Lets Say Walmart has 30 Employees working along with All the Customers in the Bldg at the time … You Mean to Tell Me NOT 1 Person could grab a Fire Extinguisher from a Post to put out the Fire at the Start? Everyone Ran out of the Bldg Immediately…. That would have kept Damage to a Minimum…
    This All doesn’t Sound Right…. Think?

      • So it’s definitely fake news then.

        5 videos of fires at WalMarts out of 3,573 Walmart Stores isn’t interesting. This might be newsworthy if someone actually showed a video from Tiktok of someone challenging others to set a walmart on fire. Instead its just rank speculation.

  2. Hi Nathan
    As I drove out of the area early today, I noticed almost all children from very young to teenagers were bent over into their phones. The greater unknowns of the world now influence them above all else and most children are without common sense or any situational awareness.
    Naturally they are all now cattle to drive as a heard and be controlled.

  3. IF this destruction of property, financial loss to not only the company but the hundreds of people that work there and higher cost of goods to consumers it’s found to be the work of an underage person, not only should that young person be held accountable by spending some time-out in a juvenile detention center, the parents of this little monster should be held accountable as well. Parents are aware of what kind of children they have, sometimes they choose to ignore the signs but overall you know what your child is like.

    • Nathan,
      I have worked in Public Safety for many years and the Juvenile Detention Center is merely a higher learning center for the adolescent monsters you refer to. Most kids come out worse than they did before they went in. I don’t know the answer to this problem but that’s what happens. And yes hold the parents responsible!!!

  4. The Arsonist needs to know that it’s going to cost Walmart millions of dollars to repair the building, do fire damage clean up, replace all of the displays including the refrigeration and freezer systems, then to replace all of the merchandise that they so carelessly destroyed. Pretty funny for a TikTok dare, huh? 3 Police Officers were injured and you put the lives of countless firefighters and paramedics in jeopardy. So let’s see, on that roll out I guarantee that was another $100,000 because that was Peachtree City and Mutual Aid from Coweta County, City of Fayetteville and Fayette County.

    I say all of this to let you know that in the long run we the citizens of Fayette County and the citizens of Peachtree City will pay for this out of our pockets. But you when you are caught (and trust me you WILL be caught) will pay for this by looking out at the world through the bars of a prison cell.