Semiahmoo Zellers fire ‘not deliberate’

Semiahmoo Zellers fire ‘not deliberate’

Electrical issues cited as likely cause, one week after fire deemed suspicious by Surrey Fire Services

A mattress fire at Zellers in Semiahmoo Shopping Centre has now been attributed to “something other than human actions” and is not suspicious as was originally thought.

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said police investigation concluded that the March 14 blaze – which caused a one-day closure of the mall, and a longer-term shutdown of Zellers – was likely caused by an electrical issue and was “not deliberately set.”

The investigation remains open, but will only be revisited in the event new evidence comes to light.

The conclusion on the cause of the fire comes a week after Surrey Fire Services deemed it suspicious, and passed the case over to the RCMP.

The fire was confined to a mattress display in the South Surrey department store, but there was considerable smoke damage, according to Surrey deputy fire Chief Jon Caviglia.

The store is set to re-open in early April, a spokesperson for the Hudson’s Bay Company – which owns Zellers – told Peace Arch News last week.

“We’re still assessing (the damage),”  Tiffany Bourré said. “But (early April) is the goal.”

Originally, a customer-service representative at the shopping centre told PAN that the store “will be closed for months.”

Last year, it was announced that 189 Zellers stores across Canada were sold to Target, a U.S.-based retail chain, and more than 60 other Zellers stores would be shut down.

After originally being among the stores slated for closure, HBC changed course and announced in January the Semiahmoo location would remain open.

This month’s fire has not altered those plans, Bourré said.