Regina police have charged a 12-year-old boy with arson in connection with the fire that has closed down the Walmart on Rochdale Boulevard.
Fire crews were called to the store around 8:20 last night after a blaze started in the aisle where paper towels are sold. Video from inside shows the flames were quite high at one time.
The store was evacuated without incident and the fire was extinguished.
Smoke and water damage inside the store is described as significant. The store was closed Wednesday with no word on when it will re-open.
Fire marshal Randy Ryba said despite other reports, Walmart’s fire alarm system worked as designed during the incident.
“The fire alarm system activated immediately, I heard that rumour from another news agency, that alarm worked as designed, it worked immediately,” Ryba said. “The store staff did very good work in marshaling people out all of the exit doors, but the alarm system worked as designed, I can confirm that.”
Ryba said this has happened two or three times that he can remember.
“We did lose an entire store in the south part of Albert Street a few years ago because of it, and one downtown in the Cornwall Centre at another instance that wasn’t nearly as bad, but it has occurred and it does occur unfortunately,” Ryba said. “It’s disturbing to me because it puts people at risk as well as a massive amount of property damage.”
Police say their investigation was aided by video surveillance.
The 12-year-old, who can’t be named because of his age, will be in Youth Court Thursday morning.