It was just after 5 p.m. Monday evening when fire crews responded to the Target on Piedmont Road NE and Sidney Marcus Boulevard.
Fire crews arrived quickly and found all employees had evacuated, but they had to locate the fire in thick smoke.
Store employees and shoppers spoke about the chaotic moments inside the store.
“All these people were screaming to get out of Target,” said Taelore Hicks who was shopping for dog food. “They were like, there’s a big fire in Target, then everybody started running. I started running.”
Atlanta Fire Battalion Chief Quincey Watts said they had to do a big search and pull out protective equipment so they could breathe.
“We had to put out on personal protective equipment just so we could get in and breathe,” said Atlanta Fire Battalion Chief Quincey Watts. “We got in and had to do a big search because it’s a large building. We located the fire and began to extinguish it.”
Crews found the flames in the center of the store near the linens, but they had to do another search to ensure all of the customers were out while smoke inside the store spread to nearby businesses.
“We just saw a lot of smoke coming up through the stairwell up here and we could smell it in the stairwell of the building,” said Katherine Amengual.
That heavy smoke is the reason several Target employees had to be checked out by Atlanta Fire EMS crews. And while the flames are out, the cleanup is just beginning. In the massive store, customers were just thankful they were able to get out in time.
“That target is huge and I’m grateful that the workers came to the side of the store I was at,” added Hicks.
It’s not clear when the store will reopen.
Atlanta fire said the actual fire damage is contained, but with the smoke damage and the water left behind by fire crews and the sprinkler system, it could a while before this store will reopen.
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