UPDATE: A Chattanooga Walmart was forced to shut down for hours because of a complete power outage, forcing hundreds of shoppers to change plans.
The Signal Mountain Rd. Walmart was closed for four hours Wednesday evening. The power started shutting down around 3:30 p.m. The store had to close around 4 p.m. and could not open again until after 8 p.m.
Many shoppers arrived to find the store completely in the dark.
"Some of (the lights) went off, then the rest of them went off," said employee Ben Deering.
Every light in the store was eventually shut off, even the lights in the parking lot.
"We were back there unloading the truck, and the power went off. They said a transformer blew," Deering said.
A Walmart spokesperson said a construction crew hit a power line next to the store on Wednesday afternoon.
Customers were being turned away while workers stood outside, still on the clock, waiting for power to be restored.
"We got all the customers out before the power went completely out," Deering said.
Customers said the store paged for everyone to come to the checkout lines before 4 p.m. because the registers were losing power.
Later that evening, EPB crews were working to repair the line so the store could re-open.
"I always go to the end, because that's where the least amount of people are, and I saw the lights were off. I'm like, they're not supposed to shut that door until 9 o'clock," said shopper Kimberly Nelson.
For several hours, hundreds of customers showed up to do their routine shopping, but were forced to go somewhere else.
"I came to get my husband some alka-seltzer, because he's got bronchitis and his stomach is upset," said Nelson, who left the store to shop at Food City. There were some concerns about refrigerated food during the outage, but Walmart said it has strict policies for replacing those items.
A worker told us all coolers must be emptied if the power is out for longer than 15 minutes.
A power outage at Walmart's location on Signal Mountain Road closed the store for a few hours Wednesday evening.
Company spokeswoman Leslee Wright said construction crews hit a power line behind the store at around 4:00PM, causing it to lose power.
Current view of Walmart on Signal Mtn Rd. Totally in the dark. Power outage forced the store to close this evening. pic.twitter.com/YTkMC7C0Ad
Wright said the company has strict protocol for replacing items that could be affected by the outage, particularly food. She said any items affected will be taken off the floor and not sold to customers.