A fire at a Walmart store in Columbia, South Carolina, appears to have been started by a juvenile.
The incident caused a total of $6 million in damages.
Authorities told CBS affiliate WLTX that they have made contact with the child and that charges could be expected. Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said on Friday, March 16, that the fire was started intentionally.
The incident took place a little before 8 p.m. at the Walmart located on Garners Ferry Road. As a precaution, people were told to leave the store.
Jenkins told NBC affiliate WCNC that the actual damage to the store was about $5,000 but Walmart told him that all the inventory in the store will have to be replaced because smoke filled the whole building. He was told the estimated cost of the damages is about $6 million.
The store’s sprinkler system also contributed to the merchandise damages.
— WIS News 10 (@wis10) March 16, 2018
As of writing it’s still not entirely clear what started the fire. The investigation is ongoing.
The store will now be forced to close for “a while” Jenkins told WCNC.
The fire’s origin was deemed suspicious because authorities determined that it started in the paper section of the Walmart.
— NBC Charlotte (@wcnc) March 16, 2018
“It started in an area where it would have been hard to start a fire,” Jenkins said.
Investigators are also looking at surveillance video to find more evidence.
Friday morning some customers still came to the store to try and shop and to pick up their medical prescriptions. For now, the pharmacy is transferring prescriptions to their Forest Drive location. That’s where customers can call to see if they can get their medicine, WLTX reported.
Video sent to WISTV from a viewer showed heavy smoke and some firefighters inside the store.
Investigators said they will be at the store on Friday to try and determine what exactly started the fire.