The parking lot in the shopping center on Woodlands Village Boulevard was packed with cars on Tuesday as people continuously filed into the only open Walmart in Flagstaff.
People weaved around each other in the aisle after a suspected case of arson caused the Walmart Supercenter on East Huntington Drive in town to close temporarily. Walmart officials have said they are working to open the Walmart Supercenter for customers by the end of the week, but as of Tuesday, didn't know exactly what day they would reopen. The location has been closed for four days since the incident occurred early Saturday morning.
One of their customers Michelle Brooks, a regular customer of the supercenter, has had to reorganize her day to get her necessities. Brooks was walking outside of the Walmart with her dog, Harley, and described having a 22-day old newborn baby to help care for.
While she understood why the location had to close, she said the closure just complicated things. She had to take the bus across town in order to get Harley's dog food and baby formula from different stores.
"We have to catch the bus, do all the shopping we have to do, go to however many stores we have to go to, and then go all the way back," Brooks said. "Whereas over [at the Walmart Supercenter], we could just walk it."
LeMia Jenkins, a national spokeswoman for Walmart, said she would know more about when the store will reopen Wednesday.
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She also said that when the supercenter does open, the employees will likely only stock the grocery and consumable parts of the store. Jenkins explained that means their section for fruits and vegetables, and the section for products like canned goods, paper towels and chemicals will be open at that time.
The man that allegedly started the fire in the location, 20-year-old Cody Yazzie, has been arrested and jailed as Walmart employees redirect resources to help clean up the supercenter. The fire reportedly began in the clothing department after 3 a.m. on Saturday, Flagstaff Police Department officials have stated, however LeMia could not confirm that information.
No injuries were reported in the fire. The major cause for concern at this point is damage to merchandise.
Jenkins said, in addition to fire damage in cases of arson, sprinklers can also cause damage to the store.
"When sprinklers go off, damages a lot of the merchandise. We typically take time to look at inventory and to restock what we need to restock, cancel out damages," Jenkins said. "It depends on what has been affected by the sprinkler systems or water."
Local Walmart managers declined to comment on Tuesday about the status of the restoration.