Montreal police are investigating a case of alleged arson at a Walmart west of the city.
The store, along the Trans-Canada Highway in the city of Kirkland, was filled with smoke Friday night after someone seemingly set a fire on purpose, police say.
One after another, weekend shoppers hoping to get into the usually bustling store were turned away on Saturday, as they found out it was closed for the day.
According to Montreal police, around 8 p.m. Friday, someone started a fire in the middle of the store. A 911 call was made at about 9:30 p.m.
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“One or more suspects would have put clothes on the ground and then set the fire to them,” said police spokesperson Caroline Chevrefils. “The scene was protected for the arson unit investigators. There’s no suspects, there’s no witnesses, and there’s little damage. The images of the surveillance camera will be viewed by the investigators.”
She said the fire was put out using a fire extinguisher before officers arrived.
“Thankfully, all associates and customers are safe. The store is currently closed as we carry out the necessary clean-up and repairs, but will reopen tomorrow morning. We are working closely with officials as they investigate. The safety of our associates and customers is a top priority at Walmart and we want to thank all first responders who attended the fire,” said Walmart corporate affairs manager Felicia Fefer.
This is not the only Canadian Walmart to deal with alleged arson of late. Fires were set at multiple stores in Ontario in recent days. On Oct. 20 between 9 and 11 p.m., fires were set in the toilet paper isles of two Walmarts in Kitchener and one in Waterloo. Police have released images of suspects in those cases, and investigators are looking into anti-mask social media posts that mention the idea of attacking stores like Walmart.
Montreal police said their arson squad will be looking into the Ontario incidents.