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Investigators suspect arson in Concord Wal-Mart fire

By Sarah Nagem
Salisbury Post
CONCORD ó Investigators think the Monday night fire that has left the Wal-Mart Supercenter near Concord closed for days was intentionally set.
Investigators are viewing surveillance tapes from the store at 2420 Supercenter Drive in an attempt to identify any suspects, according to the Concord Police Department.
The blaze broke out in the floral area of the store around 11:15 p.m. Monday. The store’s sprinkler system extinguished the blaze, but firefighters spent hours getting smoke out of the building.
“We’re treating it as an intentionally set fire,” said Major Wendell Rummage of the Concord Police Department.
The State Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are also involved in the case, according to police. Investigators are still interviewing people about the fire.
On Wednesday, the Concord Fire & Life Safety Department dispelled a rumor about the cause of the blaze.
On Tuesday, a salisburypost.com reader posted an online comment about the Wal-Mart story. The reader stated in the written comment that a child had sparked the fire by putting a lighter up to a fake flower.
“That’s not true at all,” said Norman Franklin, public information officer for Concord Fire & Life Safety. “I can say that much.”
The store might reopen this week, according to a Wal-Mart spokesman.
“Right now, we are cleaning up after the fire at the store,” spokesman Phillip Keene said in an e-mail Wednesday. “We did incur a significant amount of merchandise loss, but more importantly, we are grateful there were no injuries as a result of the fire. We are assisting the police with their investigation and are hopeful to have the store open again for our community as early as Friday morning.”
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call Concord police at 704-920-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 704-93-CRIME.
Contact Sarah Nagem at 704-797-7683 or snagem@salisburypost.com.

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