Clean up continues at three Walmarts damaged by arson fires
KITCHENER -- Three Waterloo Region Walmarts that were damaged in fires three weeks ago continue to clean up after the alleged arsons.
Two people are accused of starting the fires that caused an estimated $12 million in damages.
The fires were at the Walmarts at Sunrise Centre, Stanley Park Mall and Bridgeport Plaza. All three stores are still closed.
Police said all three fires started in the toilet paper and paper towel aisles. The damage was extensive, caused mostly by smoke and water.
Two people face multiple charges. Ramlengun Permauloo, 21, is facing three counts of arson with disregard for human life and other serious charges. A 15-year-old from Paris, who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces three counts of arson, along with 13 charges for pulling a fire alarm.
Police said Tuesday that 1,100 man hours went into the investigation, which involved several branches.
At a roundtable on Tuesday morning, Chief Bryan Larkin raised concerns that the two suspects were released on bail without electric monitoring.
"In this particular case, there is a significant endangerment of human life, you have a $12 million damage and you have individuals being released largely due to the pandemic, which I get," Larkin said. "But where is the balance of public safety, because now our service has to actually ensure compliance and ensure monitoring. It's a demand on our resources."
The suspects are due back in court on Nov. 25.