An arson investigation is underway after someone set tortilla chips on fire at south City Market around 8 p.m. Saturday.
South City Market reopened at 2:15 p.m. Sunday after being forced to close for the small fire. On Sunday afternoon, about half the aisles in the market, principally in the center of the store, remained blocked off to shoppers.
Durango Police Department Sgt. Will Sweetwood said a photo was obtained of the suspected arsonist, and search warrants were going to be issued and searches conducted Sunday in an effort to identify the subject in the photograph. No arrests have currently been made, he said Sunday morning.
Scot Davis, public information officer with the Durango Fire Department, said the call about the fire came in at 8:06 p.m.
The fire was doused by water from a sprinkler head, and no one was injured, he said.
“Because of one sprinkler head, a fire that could have caused a lot of damage was contained quickly. It shows the importance of sprinkler systems,” he said.
Fire Marshal Karola Hanks was at the store Sunday morning working on a fire investigation, Davis said. He was unsure how long the investigation would take.
The store, located at 6 Town Plaza, had closed after the fire and remained closed until 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
Kelli McGannon, spokeswoman for Kroger Co., said, “We’d like to acknowledge the quick response of the city and the first responders. They have been outstanding. And we appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to reopen the store, but the first goal is to ensure the safety of our customers and associates.”
The fire was contained to the dry goods aisle, and she said store employees worked with health inspectors to identify all the food that is safe to sell.
“We will always opt for safety, and if there is any question about a product, it will be removed,” she said.
Saturday night, while at the scene, Davis said DFPD firefighters shut off water to the sprinkler system and drained the sprinkler that went off. They did not need to put any water on the fire.
Davis also said firefighters set up equipment to remove smoke from the building and they walked the store to ensure no other fires had been set. They also assisted with crowd control.
DFPD responded to the scene with two engines, two medic units and a ladder truck, Davis said. The battalion chief and medical chief were also on scene.