That pesky hay
Solving the great pumpkin fire at Whole Foods: Charlie Brown is cleared
UPDATE: The Kirby Whole Foods reopened at 5 p.m., ending Houston's pumpkin fire nightmare.
The mystery behind the Whole Foods pumpkin fire appears to be over.
And no, Charlie Brown wasn't involved.
Several people with a working knowledge of the pumpkin display that erupted in fire this afternoon, causing a mass evacuation of the Kirby Whole Foods, tell CultureMap that the blaze appears to have been triggered by electrical wires running underneath the display's hay. Once the hay caught on fire, the pumpkins on top of it quickly followed.
Fire department officials will not give an official cause until a complete investigation is conducted.
It took around five minutes for everyone to get out of the store according to eyewitnesses. CultureMap CEO Stephen Newman was the first reporter on the scene.
"We unfortunately had a seasonal merchandising display that caught fire outside store of our store," Whole Foods Houston media and community relations coordinator Kimberly Crowder told CultureMap in an e-mail. "It was extinguished in minutes. All of our customers and team members are OK and unharmed. We hope to resume regular business shortly. We’re grateful that this matter was handled quickly and that everyone is OK."
The fire started on the second-level pumpkin display right behind the Whole Foods sign and it doesn't appear to have reached the first level where people shop. There is noticeable damage to at least the second non-shopping level of the store.
Sixty-five-year-old Kent Land went to Whole Foods, expecting to do his regular grocery shopping with his wife. Instead, he found himself being turned away by the fire department.
"Guess we're going to H-E-B now," Land said.
CultureMap's first story on the fire:
Pumpkin fire breaks out at the Kirby Whole Foods (with exclusive first photos)