Investigators: Fires at Two Ariz. Wal-Marts Were Arson

June 12, 2006

Received by Newsfinder from AP
Jun 9, 2006 20:18 Eastern Time

Fires were intentionally set inside two Glendale, Ariz., Wal-Mart stores late Thursday, Glendale fire investigators said.

Both stores were evacuated after the flames broke out, and six people were treated for smoke inhalation, with two taken to local hospitals.

Fire officials said damages were estimated at $5 million, mostly from smoke and water damage. One of the stores was to remain closed until today.

The first fire started about 10 p.m. in the rear of a Wal-Mart in Glendale and forced about 120 people to evacuate, Deputy Fire Chief Elio Pompa said.

A second fire broke out about an hour later at a Wal-Mart several miles away. It also began in the rear area of the store and forced 75 people to be evacuated.

Both fires were contained by the stores’ sprinkler systems, but there was extensive smoke and water damage.

Pompa announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

Investigators were looking into a number of motives, including the possibility the fires were set by a disgruntled former employee.

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