PLAINFIELD, Ind. — More than 30 fire departments have been named in several notices of tort claims seeking damages from a massive fire in March that destroyed a Walmart Distribution Center.

The fire broke out at the Walmart Distribution Center previously located at 9590 Allpoints Parkway in Plainfield. Smoke from the fire was visible from miles away, dropping debris throughout the area.

It took firefighters 76 hours to fully extinguish the fire as crews from more than 30 agencies worked around the clock. However, according to the tort claims filed this month by several law firms, the actions by initial responders only made the fire worse.

In one of the notices, attorneys for Walmart claim the Plainfield Fire Territory directed the center’s fire impression system to be deactivated or disabled before opening the facility doors. The notice says this allowed additional oxygen to enter the center before was extinguished, causing the fire to grow and spread.

During the initial reports, Plainfield Fire Chief Brent Anderson said firefighters fought the blaze inside the warehouse for a half-hour before having to retreat and pull crews out of the building and switch to a defensive operation. For a few minutes, two firefighters were unaccounted for during the retreat leading to a “few tense minutes.”

The notice filed on behalf of Walmart said while the amount of damages is still being investigated, it currently exceeds the $5,000,000 statutory limit of the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

A spokesperson for Walmart says the notice is a part of the steps they are taking under Indiana law to preserve their rights during the ongoing investigation.

A notice has also been filed on behalf of:

  • insurance underwriters seeking at least $50,000,000
  • insurance company seeking at least $40,000,000
  • insurance company seeking at least $150,000,000
  • insurance underwriters seeking at least $100,000,000

Besides the Town of Plainfield and Plainfield Fire Territory, more than 30 fire departments are listed as involved parties in Walmart’s notice of tort claim. The Town of Plainfield issued a statement saying while they can’t comment on specifics, they are proud of the heroic response.

Since this is potential litigation, the Town of Plainfield and the Plainfield Fire Territory cannot comment on specifics of this incident at this time.

The Town of Plainfield is proud of the heroic response by the Plainfield Fire Territory and the supporting services from all over central Indiana who risked their personal safety to protect lives. The safety and security of life is always the Plainfield Fire Territory’s highest priority. The Town of Plainfield and the Plainfield Fire Territory remains committed to providing fire and emergency medical services to the residents and visitors of Plainfield.

The distribution center is now closed, as a notice says the property damage was too significant to reopen the facility for the foreseeable future.