A man has pleaded guilty to a fire that destroyed the Canadian Tire store in Mission in January 2019.
Quince Chalifoux, 28, was initially charged with “arson in relation to an inhabited property” but recently pleaded guilty in Abbotsford provincial court to the lesser charge of “arson damaging property.”
His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 7 in Abbotsford.
The blaze took place at about 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2019 at the Canadian Tire on London Avenue in Mission.
Staff and customers were able to safely leave the store, and no one was injured.
The store was further damaged at around 2 a.m., when an explosion took place inside the building, setting off approximately 185 sprinklers. The damage was estimated in the millions.
Investigators quickly deemed the fire as suspicious. Charges against Chalifoux were announced in February 2020.
The store was rebuilt and reopened on Aug. 29, 2019, but suffered damage in a second unrelated fire exactly two years after the one involving Chalifoux.
Investigators believe that fire was set to conceal a shoplifting theft.
The suspect in that incident was described as a white heavy-set middle-aged man wearing a black face cloth, baseball cap and black jacket.