Redwood Falls Walmart’s roof leak rumors don’t hold water

Chris Schmitz

Rumors are bound to assume a life of their own in a smaller city like Redwood Falls. Perhaps you heard exaggerations about a recent water problem at Walmart?

“I heard the roof collapsed.”

“The flat roof gathered water and it eventually gave in and came plunging through.”

“They’ll be shut down for weeks—they’re not letting anybody into the story.”

None of those were true, according to Rebecca Thomason, the Senior Manager of Corporate Communications out of Walmart’s national office. 

Walmart in Redwood Falls

“The incident you’re referring to happened back on December 9,” Thomason said.

Thomason’s version of the incident lacks the sensational details of the rumors, however, which sound more like a variation of the Metrodome’s roof collapse that has gotten recent media attention over its anniversary. 

Thomason said, “The Redwood store experienced a small leak that caused a loss in water pressure. The change caused the sprinkler system to shift and several ceiling tiles and two lights to fall in the electronics department. No one was injured and no merchandise was lost.”

While the store did experience a brief closure in order to ensure safety, it was only brief. “The store was closed for about six hours and then local authorities gave the green light to safely reopen. At this time we are working to make the repairs to the ceiling but no additional store closures are expected,” Thomason said.

One possible reason rumors stirred is in the absence of official details. Based on Walmart policy, local management is not allowed to comment on incidents, leading to public speculation. Such speculation often incorporates details from other local incidents (there was a massive ceiling issue in late 2017, due to backed up water over the rear exit of the Gazette and the Calf Fiend Café’s rear section where they share a fire door, said Eric Lovett, the café’s former owner. Lovett laughed and confirms that he, too, heard rumors about Walmart’s roof, though his version included sprinklers going off and a water main break. Repairs to the local café and offices have been long since fixed.)

When speaking with two Walmart employees (who remain unnamed due to the mentioned policy), they chuckled about the rumors and said they’ve been asked about them by many people. 

“There’s really nothing to it, and it’s pretty wild that it took on a life of its own,” said one. “It wasn’t my department,” said the other, “but the entire issue was solved in a matter of minutes with a broom and a bucket.”