Dollar General manager Ashley Duncan and assistant manager Karen Smith were working their shift on Oct. 26 at the 120 Vierse Dr. location when they became aware of a white haze and a strange odor beginning to fill the store.
The management team wasn’t able to immediately identify the source of the smoke. Smith escorted customers out of the store while Duncan rushed over to the neighboring Save-A-Lot grocery to place a 911 call at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Within a few minutes, responding units from the Farmington Fire Department and Farmington Police Department arrived on the scene. Duncan and Smith kept passersby away from the Dollar General entrance while fire department personnel donned their gear and entered the building in search of the source of the smoke and odor.
Approximately 10 minutes later, it was announced there was no fire in the building, and it was safe for police personnel to conduct a cursory investigation. Duncan was asked to accompany them to an area in the rear of the store and returned a few minutes later.
“Everything is OK,” Duncan told Smith and those gathered at the store entrance. “We found a broken belt on the air conditioning fan in the back. There’s some freon that leaked and caused the smoke and smell.”
The store was closed early for cleanup efforts, and it was expected to open again for business-as-usual Friday morning.
Lisa Brotherton-Barnes is a staff writer with the Daily Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.