A Target store located at 7530 Orangethorpe Avenue in Buena Park, California, faced a dramatic incident on Tuesday, September 5, when a fire broke out in the children’s section, prompting the evacuation of shoppers and employees. The fire initially consumed a few clothing items before rapidly spreading to the ceiling and other objects within the store.
Authorities swiftly responded to the scene after the fire was reported around 7:15 pm, with both the Orange County Fire Authority and Anaheim Fire & Rescue in attendance. However, by the time they arrived, the store’s built-in emergency sprinkler system had largely extinguished the flames, leaving behind only residual haze and smoke.
Fortunately, no injuries have been reported among shoppers or employees, as all were safely evacuated from the premises. Nonetheless, the store sustained damage from the fire, smoke, and water, particularly affecting its clothing merchandise.
The cause of the fire remains uncertain but has been labeled as “suspicious.” Arson investigators have initiated an inquiry into the incident, with law enforcement also present at the scene.
This incident in Buena Park follows a pattern of recent fire-related incidents at Target stores in the area. In a separate incident, a 31-year-old individual was arrested on July 5 for setting the diaper aisle of a Mesa-area Target store on fire in June, resulting in substantial losses for the retailer.
Additionally, another Target store at Serramonte Center experienced an arson incident, leading to temporary closure for restocking and repairs. In this case, it is alleged that the fire was set as a distraction to facilitate shoplifting. Authorities have noted an increasing trend of such incidents involving fire distractions to aid thefts.
Parker Wilbourn, a spokesperson for Sacramento Metro Fire, described these occurrences as organized crimes with premeditated plans involving both fire-setting and theft. The severity of charges depends on the extent of damage or theft, with fire distractions potentially leading to arson and vandalism charges.