UPDATE: The initial investigation into the fire indicates it was ‘deliberately set’ as a technique to conceal a shoplifting theft, according to the Mission RCMP.
Investigating officers are currently collecting evidence at the scene and interviewing witnesses, said Cpl. Jason Raaflaub, media officer for the detachment.
The suspect was captured on CTTV cameras in the store, and is described as a white middle-aged man, heavy set, wearing a black face cloth, baseball cap, and black jacket. He was last seen fleeing the store at 12:57 p.m. in a vehicle.
The arson is believed to be unrelated to a previous arson at the store exactly two years ago on Jan. 30, 2019, Raaflaub said. He added the fire caused minimal damage and the store should not be closed for long.
Emergency crews responded to a fire at Mission’s Canadian Tire this afternoon (Jan. 30).
The retail store’s fire alarm sounded at approximately 1 p.m., and staff and customers were evacuated from the store. A video of the evacuation was posted to social media.
The incident drew a large emergency response. Four firetrucks, over a dozen of firefighters and at least three police vehicles were on scene. The firefighters hooked up a ventilator to the building to clear the interior of smoke.
A paramedic arrived on scene to attend to one patient who required medical assistance.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, and Canadian Tire staff were directed not to speak with media.
The Record has reached out to Mission Fire Rescue Service for more details.
This incident is not the first time the location has had a fire. Exactly two years ago, on Jan. 30, 2019, an arson at the store caused millions of dollars in damages after an explosion occurred.
The store was rebuilt and reopened in Aug. 29, 2019.