Nacogdoches’ Walmart SuperCenter remained shuttered Wednesday while the man accused of starting the fire that caused the temporary closure remained in jail on a $20,000 bond.
Scott Adam Gilbert, 38, of Strong, Arkansas, is charged with second degree felony arson after an early morning fire prompted an evacuation of store employees and customers. Citing heavy smoke damage, the retail giant has declined to state when the store would reopen, instead recommending customers monitor the Nacogdoches Walmart Facebook page for updates.
The Walmart Neighborhood Market on University Drive is open regular hours.
Monday’s fire is one of more than a dozen suspected arsons inside Walmart stores around the country since the beginning of the year.
Though seemingly unrelated, the fires all started in the clothing department. On Wednesday, police in Richland, Washington, arrested one of two men accused of setting three fires inside a Walmart in the town near the Oregon state line on June 6. That blaze appears to be the most recent Walmart fire.
Though not the first reported this year, the most prominent blaze came in late January when a man torched men’s clothing in High Point, North Carolina, about 25 miles Southeast of Greensboro. Authorities there say 26-year-old Daniel Kai Dailey set the fire at about 1 p.m. Jan. 28 while shoplifting, The Greensboro News & Record reported. Video of the fire captured by shopper Mike Leonard captured images of flames engulfing men’s underwear and socks. It has been viewed more than half a million times on social media.
At least six fires occurred last month at Walmart stores. One man is accused of using supplies he purchased at Walmart to attempt to set the store on fire. On May 6, Caleb Pool was arrested and charged with arson after a fire and explosion at a Walmart in Kenton, Ohio, about 65 miles northeast of Columbus. Authorities say he set fire to women’s underwear. Security footage showed him purchasing a Zippo lighter and thermoses at the store before walking to an adjacent gas station and filling the containers with fuel, The Toldeo Blade reported. Authorities said he walked back to the store and set the blaze about 7 p.m.