A fire was “deliberately set” at Mission’s Canadian Tire this afternoon as a technique to conceal a shoplifting theft, according to the Mission RCMP.
Emergency crews responded to reports of the fire at approximately 1 p.m., after the fire alarm prompted the evacuation of staff and customers. A video of the evacuation was posted to social media.
The incident drew a large emergency response. Four firetrucks, over a dozen 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.
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. The former arson caused millions of dollars in damages after an explosion destroyed much of the store.
The store was rebuilt and reopened on Aug. 29, 2019.