Fire Chief Jason Whiteley believes arson is the cause of a fire that occurred in the Walmart store in North Bay this evening (Friday).
He says the call came in around 9:45 p.m. Fire crews along with the sprinkler system that was triggered, were able to put out the fire quickly. No one was injured.
"When we got there we found, what we believe to be, a deliberately set fire in the clothing section," Whiteley told BayToday.
"Fire crews, with the help of the building's suppression system, got the fire out very quickly. However, there appears to be some extensive damage with the smoke and the water. We are waiting to see if the health unit is going to respond because of the food in there."
A photo of smoke coming out of a clothing rack at Walmart started to circulate Friday evening. The store was evacuated and some staff members were sent home.
Ontario's Fire Marshall is expected to arrive Saturday morning to assist the Fire Department and the police with the investigation.
"We have the Fire Marshall's office attending in the morning to do an investigation with us and the police.
"Clothing just does not start on fire by itself," said Whiteley.
Whiteley says it is too early to give a damage estimate but he believes the smoke and water damage is extensive in the large department store.
And he anticipates the store will be closed for the next few days.
The fire chief is also concerned because there has been a recent rash of Walmart fires across the province.