Pair of Waterloo Region Walmart stores able to reopen after being shuttered by arson
KITCHENER -- Two of the three Walmart stores in Waterloo Region that were closed because of arson damage are ready to reopen.
The fires were set in the toilet paper and paper towel aisles at three stores around the region on Oct. 20. Two people, a 21-year-old man and a youth, have been charged in connection to the incidents.
Walmart was forced to close the locations as a result while crews cleaned up the damage. The manager at the Bridgeport Walmart location confirmed to CTV Kitchener that all damaged goods had to be thrown out.
"Unfortunately in this case, we weren't able to donate anything due to the extent of the damage, so the majority of the products were disposed," Bridgeport store manager Adam Doan said.
A restoration company said throwing out merchandise isn't uncommon in situations like these.
"The paper that got burnt actually floats through the air and gets into all of the other contents," said Peter Eckemsweiler, contents manager for the Woodhouse Group. "The big thing is, you have to remove it all, you can't resell it to the public."
The damage between the three locations was originally estimated at around $12 million.
The stores aren't fully restocked yet, but the company said in an email on Thursday morning that two are about to reopen.
The store on Bridgeport Road East reopened on Thursday, while the Stanley Park location is expected to reopen on Friday.
Crews are still working repairing and restocking on the location at the Sunrise Centre in Kitchener, but it's expected to reopen in the coming weeks.
"Obviously the investigation is ongoing, but I think the arrests definitely provide some solace to our associates," Doan said.