Early Sunday morning readers notified us of problems at the Walmart on Hillsboro and 441 in Coconut Creek. They saw fire rescue and police vehicles and indicated the store was closed and surrounded by crime scene tape. The store is still closed as of this writing.
We reached out to Walmart as well as to Coconut Creek first responders. We heard back first from Leslie Wright, Senior Media Relations Manager at Walmart’s corporate office in Arkansas. She told us the fire is still under investigation and confirmed the store is still closed. They hope to reopen as soon as possible. She indicated the damage is still being assessed.
The Coconut Creek Police Department referred us to Fire Marshal Jeff Gary of the city’s Fire Rescue team.
He told us that a fire was reported inside the store Sunday morning at 2 am. The fire was mainly on one rack of shelves. Store employees mostly extinguished it and it was almost out by the time Fire Rescue arrived on scene. There was smoke damage to some produce and other open items including clothing.
Mr. Gary told us that the store is now mostly or all cleaned up. They hope to be open late tonight or first thing in the morning.
Cause of the fire is under investigation by CCFR and CCPD.
From the police report:
On 04/10/2016 at approximately 0157 hours, I responded to 5571 Hillsboro Blvd (Walmart) in reference to a fire.
A small fire was extinguished between aisle 17 and 18 of the check-out lanes by Officer Feisthammel and various Walmart employees. Fire Rescue located a large lighter directly in front of the engulfed aisle. Due to the heavy smoke within the store, all of the patrons and employees were evacuated and CCPD locked it down for security purposes. While on crowd control, Officer Bailey was approached by [Name omitted] (age 33). [He] stated his son, [name omitted] (age 6) was possibly to blame. [Omitted] stated while he was checking out in an adjacent aisle, he lost sight of his son and stated he was possibly playing with a lighter. Ofc. Bailey spoke with [the boy] who acknowledged playing with a lighter. [The boy] was crying uncontrollably and stated he was sorry for his actions but did not directly admit to starting the fire.
The assistant store manager … stated Walmart will be able to provide CCTV surveillance in the near future should it be needed. Centeno notified the stores GM … of the incident. Both [managers] are aware of the … family and the actions of the 6 year old. There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire. Photos of the fire were taken and submitted to Foray as evidence. Case cards issued.
The police report indicates the family lives in the Emerald Bay apartments at Boca Entrada (west side of 441 near SW 18th).
Readers contacted us about an incident on Palmetto Park Road just east of 441. A reader at the Walmart saw roughly seven Sheriff cars on the north side of Palmetto near Lowe’s and Walgreen’s.
After that the cars moved first into the parking area of those stores, and later even more PBSO vehicles were seen by other readers at the West Boca Medical Center emergency room.
We contacted PBSO information officer Teri Barbera. She’s not in the office but told us what little she knows at this time:
Deputies were chasing a suspect in a case involving theft. The chase led into an area with bees and deputies were stung. They are being treated at the medical center. Ms. Barbera did not know if the thief was caught when we spoke.
A reader updated us on what she saw:
I personally was there at the scene during almost the entire time. I was on the North side of Walgreens near the wooded area. The young guy who ran from Police to get away and hide stayed down in the murky area with water until the Canine finally arrived.
I only heard one Officer’s request to him to come out before the dog arrived as he would be bitten. All the Officers were standing watching the area where he went in. Nothing was said to try and get him out peacefully before the dog arrived on scene. Must have been 25 minutes before dog arrived. Since I was on the back side, I heard the dog go in and get the guy. I was heading out just after I heard the dog on the South side, making my way around and back to the scene. When I approached, the white guy was laying on the ground with no shirt and handcuffed behind his back. I did see blood on his arm.
Then I heard and noticed all the yelling and jumping…OMG…they were all being stung by bees! I felt so sorry for them all. I looked in my car for anything to help with the swarm of bees, but I had nothing to assist with. They quickly put the guy in the Police car and drove off. Many Officers were clearly visibly shaken with all the bees and stings. I felt so bad for them all.
We at West Boca News send our best wishes to the deputies and hope for their quick recovery.
The West Boca Walmart got off to a beautiful sunrise start this morning. We attended the Grand Opening (or reopening). For those who don’t know, it’s on the southeast corner of Palmetto Park Road and US-441:
Hours are generally 7 am to 10 pm but see our earlier article for more detailed hours.
Below are some photos and videos of the event. First a few shots of the front and the crowd outside before the event started.
Next, here’s a video walk-through of the entrance of the store:
It was definitely a Walmart inside, and it felt new. There’s a lot of space. It seems bigger than we expected. There was some cuteness, with a couple of mascots on hand:
They had some freebies and store manager David Bonutti told us that they have various events happening for the rest of the week, through Sunday. Here are the pharmacy staff with a table and some kind of giveaway.
We were not surprised to see the ammo counter was very busy. It’s a popular thing at Walmart and shoppers like to get there early and get whatever’s on the shelves.
The grocery area, in particular, is larger. We figured it might be 15,000 square feet, but it’s probably over 30,000 square feet. In other words, it’s as big as a Publix.
This throws off our previous analysis of the grocery store competition in West Boca from when we heard Aldi might be coming. Now we wonder if Aldi might not come. The competition may be a tight squeeze for Western Beef, which is right in the middle of two big Walmarts and across the street from a Publix.
There’s good reason for them to worry. Walmart’s parking lot was pretty full for just the first day and so early in the morning:
And people were pouring into the store:
Here are a few more pictures from inside, and some videos of the event:
And this one’s long, but it’s speeches and more including:
Walmart cheer starting around 30 seconds in;
National Anthem around 1:45 in;
Store manager David Bonutti around 4 minutes in; and more.
The Walmart in West Boca will have its Grand Opening on September 10th. There are signs up at both the Palmetto Park and US-441 entrances.
We spoke to one insider who told us the store will actually open for business on September 9th, but the “Grand Opening” will be on the 10th. We were not able to confirm the 9th, however.
We saw a lot of activity as the workers are getting ready. The store hours are up on the front door. General hours are from 7 am to 10 pm. The photo lab and money center will be open from 9 am to 9 pm.
Pharmacy hours are 9 am to 9 pm weekdays, with shorter hours on weekends: 9 am to 7 pm on Saturdays and 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays.
Optical will be from 9 am to 8 pm except for Sundays, which will be limited to just noon until 5 pm.
From our visit today, we expect that the far left turn lane on Palmetto Park westbound will become a problem due to people making U-turns to get into that entrance.
Walmart has not answered our direct inquiries about a specific opening date.
However, two readers tell us they’ve spoken to insiders and the target for a Grand Opening is September 10th.
That would be a bit quicker than what we previously heard from the incoming store manager. In any event, it’s not much more than a month away.
Have any other readers heard anything? Let us know in the comments.
The West Boca Walmart is on the southeast corner of 441 and Palmetto Park Road.
We were driving by the incoming Walmart today and noticed signs were up. So, unlike the Cadillac in front of us, we made a safe U-turn and then we drove into the parking lot and took a look around.
If you like video, here’s a quick summary. Extra photos and comments are below.
The parking lot has quite a few cars in it and there’s a flurry of work going on to get the store ready. Here’s the front of the main store entrance:
And here’s an angled shot from the southern end looking toward Lowe’s in the background:
Last, here’s a picture showing the sign (red arrow points to it) on the southwest corner of 441 and Palmetto Park Road.
We previously spoke to the store manager, David Bonutti when we wrote about the Walmart temporary hiring center. He then said they hoped to open about six weeks after they moved onto the property. We think they got in yesterday, August 4th. So that suggests they’ll be open for business in mid-September.
The driveways are open on both Palmetto Park across from Lowe’s, and on 441 just south of Palmetto Park. Getting in the parking lot looks easy. Getting out is fine if you’re going east or north. If you want to go west or south, it’s going to be more of a hassle getting out of the 441 exit, depending on traffic.
We stopped by the temporary Walmart Hiring Center today. We had the pleasure of meeting David Bonutti, who will be managing the reopening West Boca Walmart.
The temporary hiring center is in Somerset Shoppes between a Day Spa and a medical imaging facility, and close to Michael’s.
Bonutti was hopeful that they will be moving into the store at Palmetto Park and 441 in early August. They are aiming for the 4th but it’s still up in the air.
Once they’re in, they expect to open the store six weeks later. That means mid to late September. For now those looking for work can visit the temporary hiring center.
Bonutti seemed upbeat and friendly. That’s a good sign.
We’ve been advised that has opened a temporary hiring center at 8903 Glades Road, #A-14 in the Somerset Shopping Center. It’s a roughly 2600 square foot space north of the Michael’s. The best entrances are probably the two on Lyons Road.
Walmart will hire around three hundred associates to work at the new West Boca Walmart slated to open late this summer in Boca Raton.
Applications will be accepted Monday through Friday from 8 to 5. Interested applicants may also apply online at Careers.Walmart.com.
Through Walmart’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, the company will offer a job to any qualified veteran who has been honorably discharged within the past 12 months.* Interested veterans may find out more at WalmartCareersWithaMission.com.
According to store manager David Bonutti, the store will be hiring both full- and part-time associates. “We are excited to return to this area of Boca Raton, bring approximately 300 jobs to the community and expand our offerings to better serve our customers,” said Bonutti.
Walmart provides a benefits program to eligible full- and part-time associatesm including health-care coverage, matching 401(k) contributions, discounts, company stock purchase program and life insurance, along with performance incentives.
Most associates will start in August to prepare the store for its grand opening in late summer. Veterans
*Veterans must be within 12 months of active duty and meet Walmart’s standard hiring criteria.
We just checked and Walmart’s Online Hiring Center now shows job opportunities for the soon-to-open West Boca Walmart.
There are a variety of classes of jobs you can apply for, including professional, hourly, management and more:
Most of the jobs are in the hourly category, and there’s a long list of jobs in that group:
Some of the jobs have video previews for them, such as this one for stocker:
We have reached out to Walmart to find out if there will be an actual hiring center on site where people can go in and apply, and if there’s a planned opening date. We’ll see if they respond.
The West Boca Walmart will reopen on the southeast corner of Palmetto Park and 441, sometime in September we think.
We’re seeing a lot of progress being made on projects going on in West Boca. For details on these and others see our previous post, What’s Going On At …?
Above you can see that they’ve started erecting the new Walgreens outbuilding in Shadowood. This photo was taken from the sidewalk on Glades Road, and the existing Walgreens is in the background at far left.
Across the street they’re doing a lot of work on the northwest corner of Westwinds of Boca (aka the Home Depot plaza) close to the Glades & 441 intersection. You can see some of the work in our cheesy 33-second video below.
Below is a panorama shot of the scene with Home Depot behind the camera and 441 in the background. In the distance the Glades/441 intersection is to the right and the entrance by the AT&T store and Chipotle is to the left.
Here’s another shot of that looking more towards the north and Shadowood:
And here’s our last shot, taken from over by the AT&T and Chipotle entrance, looking north. It appears they’re preserving some of the lake that was there before.
Finally they’re getting more done on the Walmart at Palmetto Park & 441. The door is on the front of the store close to Palmetto.
Here’s a panorama shot looking from the Palmetto entrance. We’ve tried other angles but it’s hard to get a good picture from any other spot.
And we also noticed they’re starting some kind of landscaping work. We saw this around the border of the property, outside the fence: