Walmart reopening Saturday after November fire
Timmins The Daily Press

Walmart at Northgate Shopping Centre is planning to open its doors to shoppers at 7 a.m. Saturday.

A Walmart employee, who asked not to be named because she did not have permission to speak on behalf of the business, said employees were told Tuesday that operations will resume after a fire in November.

The “suspicious” fire broke out Nov. 20 at about 9:30 p.m. in a clothing rack in the men’s wear department. It grew quickly, with fire reaching the ceiling and smoke billowing through the store.

The fire was contained quickly while customers and employees were evacuated. There were no reports of injuries.

Fire Chief Jason Whiteley called it “very suspicious.

“It started in the clothing racks,” he said at the time. “That doesn’t spontaneously combust.

“As you can imagine, all the clothing these days is made with synthetic materials,” which produce thick, toxic smoke.

Whiteley would not speculate on whether the fire was connected to three in October at Kitchener-Waterloo Walmart stores where two people were charged.

The Ontario Fire Marshal estimated the cost of the three fires — set in the paper products section of the stores — to be more than $12 million. All three stores have since reopened.

Customers at the North Bay store’s pharmacy and vision centre have been able to take advantage of “special arrangements” by Walmart to fill their needs.

Felicia Fefer, a spokesperson for Walmart Canada, said the arson caused “significant damage.

“A lot of the merchandise was affected, but we were able to donate 7,000 pounds of unaffected, safe, surplus food items to the North Bay Food Bank.”

Fefer said the company has been working closely with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit during the clean-up, and “our team has been working countless hours to prepare the store for reopening.

“It’s been a big undertaking.”

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