Three different Walmart stores in Winnipeg closed on Thursday night due to a fire at each location.
While all three fires were small and contained using handheld extinguishers, Winnipeg fire officials and police are considering the incidents as related arsons.
The first fire occurred at 6:07 p.m. at the Empress Avenue location, followed by another at the Regent Avenue store at 7:19 p.m., and yet another at the McPhillips Street location at 8:49 p.m. The last fire had already been extinguished when crews arrived.
Walmart Canada said in a statement that no employees or customers were injured as a result of the fires.
“Our McPhillips store is open. However, our two other stores remain closed as we carry out necessary clean-up and repairs and will reopen once this has been completed and approved by the Health Inspector.”
Earlier this month, Walmart Canada made it mandatory to wear a face mask at all locations across the country and many on Twitter have speculated whether this is the reason behind the fires.
“I really hope this isn’t due to Walmart enforcing masks,” another person wrote.
However, in a statement to the Winnipeg Free Press, Const. Jay Murray denied that this was true.
“There has been some speculation on social media that the fires could be related to Walmart’s recent face coverings requirement. This does not appear to be the case.”
The fires are suspicious and are currently being investigated by police, the city said in a news release.