The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) has arrested two males for three overnight fires that occurred on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at three Walmart stores across Kitchener and Waterloo.
“As a result of the investigation, a 21-year-old Paris male and a young person have been charged with several offences including Arson/Disregard for Human Life and False Alarm Fire,” Constable André Johnson, Public Information Officer for WRPS, said. “The investigation remains ongoing. Police are not looking for any further suspects, however, anticipate additional charges.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, police declared they were investigating the fires as arson.
“The Waterloo Regional Police Service is investigating suspicious fires which were set inside three separate retail locations in Kitchener and Waterloo,” Johnson said.
The first fire occurred at around 9:15 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Sunrise Centre Walmart near Ottawa Street.
“On October 20, 2020, at approximately 9:15 p.m. police responded to a report of merchandise being set on fire inside a store in the area of Ottawa Street South and Fischer Hallman Road in Kitchener,” Johnson said.
The Kitchener Fire Department reported that a paper product was used to start the fire, and police confirmed that all three fires were started in the toilet paper and paper towel sections of the stores.
“At approximately 10:00 p.m., police responded to a second reported fire inside a store in the area of Ottawa Street North and River Road in Kitchener,” Johnson said.
A third fire call came in at around 10:20 p.m. at the Bridgeport Plaza in Waterloo.
Fire officials claim that no one was hurt in any of the fires. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed that all employees and customers were safe. The spokesperson also said the company will support its associates during the closure.
Both the Kitchener Fire Department and the Waterloo Fire Department said the early damage is estimated to be around $4 million per location. Due to severe smoke damage throughout the stores, all products at each store will be discarded.
Guelph police were also asked to warn the Walmarts in Guelph against arsonist activity.
All three locations are closed to customers. The Stanley Park Walmart at River Road East and Ottawa Street North had a cleanup crew on Wednesday, Oct. 21, who cleaned water out of the store. The Bridgeport location blocked a section of the parking lot and had a security guard on location to let customers know why they weren’t able to enter.