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Wal-Mart evacuates, no fire

An evacuation at Wal-Mart on Friday afternoon proved nothing more than a distraction for shoppers.

The Selma Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at the store around noon. People inside were forced to wait outside for more than a half hour while fire fighters checked out the area near the Tire and Lube Express.

An apparent malfunction in the sprinkler system tripped the fire alarm, according to Battalion Chief Joe Phillips.

People gradually began filing back into the store after authorities deemed it safe.

“The water pressure in the sprinkler system will drop, and that makes the alarm go off sometimes,” Phillips said. “But everything’s OK.”

Store manager Victor Morrow could not be reached for comment.

Several customers said they smelled something was wrong near the McDonald’s restaurant close to a front entrance of Wal-Mart.

However, fire fighters, who were investigating the area on the opposite side of the store, did not find the source of any fire.

“We smelled something like it was burning,” Debbie Bedwell said. “They said ‘it was the fire alarm, everyone get out.’”

Some shoppers said the fire alarm inconvenienced their holiday shopping.

“We’ve got a pile of stuff sitting in there we picked out for Christmas. I’ve got stuff to do,” Sharon Long said.