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Possible origin of Bentonville fire discovered

40/29 TV Ft Smith-Fayetteville logo 40/29 TV Ft Smith-Fayetteville 12/7/2019

Preliminary data provides a hint at the possible origin of Wednesday's fire in Bentonville that prompted an air warning and evacuations.

The fire appears to have started near an electrical pole with a failed terminator, Jake Feemster, Bentonville Fire Marshal, announced Friday.

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"The origin and cause investigation is ongoing and with the assistance of state and federal agencies due to the proximity to city property," Feemster wrote in an email.

The fire at Bentonville Industries UltraBoard on Central Avenue sent a large plume of smoke across the area. The company manufactures Styrofoam.

The fire started outside the building before going inside the building, officials said.

People saw the smoke as far away as Hindsville and Jane, Missouri.

One person was brought to the ER at Northwest Medical Center, according to Beth Bradfield Wright, VP of Marketing and Business Development.

After the fire started, the Rogers Fire Department sent an alert through the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS). Many people received a message on their phones that read "An industrial fire in Bentonville is causing potentially irritable smoke to move to Rogers" and stated that "People with respiratory problems, the elderly and young are recommended to seek shelter and shelter in place."

The alert was sent because it wasn't initially clear what chemicals may have been in the smoke, Rogers Fire Chief Tom Jenkins told 40/29 News.

"It's better to be safe than sorry," Jenkins said.

Workers at the Walmart Layout Center across the street were sent home, according to employees. Teachers evacuated children at the nearby Mary's Little Lamb Preschool.

Bentonville's Washington Jr. High and Apple Glen Elementary and all Rogers schools canceled recess to keep students inside.

Power outages also plagued four schools in Bentonville, including Washington Jr. High and Apple Glen as well as Old High Middle School and R.E. Baker Elementary.

READ THE FULL STORY:Possible origin of Bentonville fire discovered

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