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Nanaimo police seek witnesses to fires at The Bay

Police and fire investigators are scouring the evidence for clues leading to an arsonist who set a fire in the women’s clothing department at The Bay at Woodgrove Centre in Nanaimo on the weekend.

Flames erupted from a clothing rack shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday in what was the second fire set in the store in less than three months.

Capt. Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, said the fire was set in a rack of women’s clothing less than seven metres away from where a previous fire was lit in a clothing rack Jan. 2.

“It was similar circumstances,” Mond said. “RCMP are investigating.”

As with the previous fire, an employee knocked down the flames with a fire extinguisher.

No injuries were reported and there was less flame damage than the January fire, but the heat triggered the store’s sprinkler system and spread smoke damage throughout the store. Staff and customers were evacuated.

Police have not arrested a suspect so far, but want to talk with any potential witnesses.

“There’s a person of interest and the investigation is continuing,” said Sgt. Sheryl Armstrong, Nanaimo RCMP spokeswoman. “Anybody with information, we’re asking to call us. We’re looking for witnesses.”

Anyone with information about these fires is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

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