Alliston, ON, Canada – Sprinkler system helps extinguish intentionally-set fire at Walmart

The Walmart in Alliston will be open for business on April 21 after being closed since April 7 when a fire was set inside the store.

“We are reopening the store tomorrow morning (April 21) at 7 a.m.,” said Alex Roberton, senior director of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada.

The Walmart was closed for clean up after multiple fires were set inside the store on April 7.

The Nottawasaga detachment of the OPP charged a 15-year-old girl with arson in connection with the fires. Police believe the suspect hid inside the store when it closed at 10 p.m.

New Tecumseth firefighters responded and extinguished a fire in the central area of store. The sprinkler system inside the store engaged, helping to extinguish the flames.

Lee Jeyes, operation director for Ontario Walmarts, said a number of things had to be done to make sure the store was safe to reopen.

“The first thing we had to do and address was to work with health department,” Jeyes said.

The health department identified what had been damaged by smoke, he said.

“The majority of the food product and consumable product had been smoke damaged so we had to remove anything that the health department deemed as unsafe,” he said.

He said they took out merchandise that was “unsalable” and destroyed it. They then took the merchandise that could be donated and gave it to Salvation Army and a local food bank.

“We were able to donate almost $700,000 worth of product,” Roberton said.

A final dollar amount for the damages still hasn’t been determined.Jeyes said the sprinkler system only engaged in the fashion department of the store, and not every department experienced smoke damage.

The whole store was cleaned and the past week has been spent bringing merchandise back in.

When the doors open again, some product will still be unavailable.

“Not everything will be available, the majority of the food department and consumable department will be available and fully stocked,” Jeyes said. “We will still be working on some of the general merchandise areas, especially fashion and clothing.”

Jeyes thanked the community for their patience.

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