PHOTOS/VIDEO: Firefighters bring Bentonville industrial fire under control

United Industries Ultraboard fire Dec. 4, 2019 in Bentonville.
United Industries Ultraboard fire Dec. 4, 2019 in Bentonville.

BENTONVILLE — A massive fire at an industrial site near downtown was brought under control about 1 p.m. Wednesday, according to Debbie Griffin, city community relations and economic development director for the city.

Firefighters from three departments were working the fire at United Industries UltraBoard at 1900 E. Central Ave., she said.

Griffin said no injuries have been reported. She did not know the cause of the fire, which poured thick, black smoke into the skies.

Bentonville and Rogers School districts each kept some students inside Wednesday because of smoke, according to the districts.

The fire was reported about 11:30 a.m., said Gene Page, spokesman for the Bentonville Police Department. Page also said he didn’t know of any injuries.

Firefighters from Rogers and Bella Vista joined Bentonville at the fire.

Tom Jenkins, Rogers Fire chief, said his department sent three trucks to help. Jenkins was at the scene and called the fire “sizeable.”

Cassi Lapp with the city of Bella Vista said the city sent one fire engine and one ambulance to the scene.

Power outages were reported near the scene, but Griffin said it wasn’t known if the outages were connected to the fire.

Benton County Clerk Betsy Harrell said the County Administration Building at 215 E. Central Ave. was without power for over 30 minutes. The power went out at 11:37 a.m., she said.

An emergency alert about the fire was sent out, but it did not come from the city, Griffin said.

The Walmart MLK Building, just east of United Industries, was evacuated, according to a Walmart spokeswoman. The company is looking for alternate places for those employees to work from, she said, and they also have the option of working remotely.

Walmart's other buildings in that vicinity, including distribution centers, a truck shop, employee discount store and a Neighborhood Market, were not affected, the spokeswoman said.

United Industries UltraBoard is a line of foam core board products used by digital imaging, photographic and graphic arts industries, according to its LinkedIn page. The company was founded in 1980, according to LinkedIn.

The company was incorporated in Arkansas in 1984, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website.

United Industries was receiving an unusually high volume of calls Wednesday, according to an automated phone message, and no one could be reached for comment. An email to Mark Ferm, chief executive officer, was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Jake Harper, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, said about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday the department had sent an inspector to the site.

Leslee Wright, director of communications for the Bentonville School District, said Washington Junior High School and Apple Glen Elementary School, both located near the fire, weren’t evacuated. Wright said the two schools were without power for a while during the fire, but it was restored.

Scott Passmore, Bentonville athletic director, said no outdoor district sports activities had been canceled because of the smoke.

Ashley Siwiec, communications director for the Rogers School District, said outdoor athletic practices would be moved inside Wednesday.

Upcoming Events