The Walmart in north Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre shopping mall had to close its doors for the day after diapers were set on fire.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters responded to the alarm shortly before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, but upon arrival found the fire in the baby section at the rear of the store had already been snuffed out by store employees.
“It appears that some diapers had been set on fire,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson. “Staff were quick to attend to the fire and put it out within 60 seconds. Fire crews were on scene. They didn’t have to be deployed, but they were there.”
The fire was small, but caused significant smoke and chemical emission from the diapers and the fire extinguisher chemicals, which forced the evacuation of the store and its closure for the rest of the day.
“There was significant smoke damage and loss of revenue. A person of interest has been identified,” O’Brien said. “This person was observed in the store for several hours prior to the fire.”
Store staff, he said, was compiling security video footage to turn over to the RCMP, and police are expecting they will publicly release an image of the person of interest to try to identify the individual.
Anyone who has information about this incident or the person of interest is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP detachment non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2023-6199.