Plumber’s visit led to Port Angeles Wal-Mart evacuation

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County sheriff’s investigators have confirmed that it was a miscommunication that led to the evacuation of Wal-Mart on Tuesday evening.

Sgt. Dave Fontenot said a plumber from a Clallam firm came to the store and inspected a drain as a pre-evaluation for a work order on future plumbing work for Wal-Mart, but store management wasn’t aware of what he was doing.

When the plumber opened the drain inside the store, he noticed a caustic smell similar to drain cleaner, which may have been what store employees smelled, Fontenot said.

Wal-Mart evacuated the store as a precautionary measure following the report of an unknown male near the drain and an unusual smell.

A hazardous materials team inspected the store but found nothing out of the ordinary.

Fontenot said investigators were able to locate and speak to the plumber, who the sergeant didn’t identify.

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