A Mooroopna man, 50, allegedly set fire to toilet paper and napkins inside the Mooroopna Woolworths supermarket yesterday morning, starting a blaze that caused up to $3 million damage.
The man was arrested, charged and remanded in custody yesterday afternoon over the incident, which occurred just after 7am, and led to staff and customers being evacuated from the McLennan St store.
Four Country Fire Authority units were called to the supermarket at 7.10am yesterday morning after a fire was reported in aisle 10 of the supermarket.
‘‘Twelve odd employees and a few shoppers were evacuated,’’ CFA District 22 operations officer Peter Bell said.
‘‘A volunteer firefighter who works at Woolworths tried to use an extinguisher but it got too big.’’
Mr Bell said the supermarket’s sprinkler system activated but firefighters still battled the blaze for more than 30 minutes.
‘‘The damage is estimated to be between two and three millions dollars ... the building is smoke logged ... (and) the shop is expected to be closed for up to a week,’’ he said.
Shepparton Crime Investigation Unit detectives arrested a man who they allege started the fire in the cleaning aisle of the store.
‘‘He faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court for a remand hearing and has been remanded in custody until October 10,’’ Shepparton CIU Detective Senior Constable Mick Guppy said.
‘‘He has been charged with criminal damage by fire, reckless conduct endangering life and reckless conduct endangering serious injury.’’
A Woolworths spokesperson confirmed there was an incident at the Mooroopna store.
‘‘Our team moved quickly to follow safety procedures ... (and) we are currently working alongside authorities to determine when trading will recommence,’’ a statement said.
Anyone with information about the fire is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800333000 or make a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au