First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Dollar Store Update

A Review of Recent Incidents Involving Dollar Stores

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GASTONIA, NORTH CAROLINA, POLICE SAY that a local teenager used a lighter to set a fire in a Dollar Tree store on January 2, shortly after 5 pm.  By 10 pm Todd Alexander Bryson, 16, was jailed under a $25,000 secured bond facing an arson-related charge.

The Gaston Gazette reported:

The two-alarm fire was reported about 5:24 p.m. Monday. It occurred in the aisle where potato chips and other snacks are displayed, according to Gaston County Assistant Fire Marshal Billy Glover. Police were able to arrest Bryson before he left (the shopping center). They said he probably set fire to just one item.

"There’s no indication of any reason he’d want to start the fire," said Sgt. Jimmy Arndt with Gastonia Police Department. Bryson was standing in the parking lot with his mother and some acquaintances when taken into custody, Arndt said.

Glover said combined damage will likely exceed $500,000 and could hit $1 million.

The building's sprinkler system helped contain the blaze, but there was still significant damage to both the structure and the merchandise, mainly from smoke and water damage.  Bryson was charged with felony arson and is subject to additional charges.

The store reopened on January 19 while Bryson was still in jail.

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WISH-TV IN INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA reported that two employees suffered smoke inhalation in a fire set by a customer trying to steal items from a Wayne Township Family Dollar store on January 9.

Firefighters were called to the store near Lynhurst Drive and Rockville Road just after 11:30 a.m. The first units arrived to find a small fire had already been extinguished by employees. They say it appears a would-be shoplifter set the fire as a distraction.

The suspect fled from the store but was identified on a surveillance tape.

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IN NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI, A FIRE BROKE OUT in a Dollar General store around 2 pm on January 10.

Natchez Democrat

The Natchez Democrat reported:

"The manager said everybody was in the front of the store, and when he turned around he could see smoke coming from the back of the building," Natchez Fire Chief Oliver Stewart said.

Most of the fire damage was limited to the rear of the building, but Oliver said the exact point of origin for the fire had not been determined Tuesday afternoon. "They have an office in the rear, and it looks like it started in that office," Stewart said. "We are looking there."

The fire burned out the storeroom and caused some structural damage in that area.  The firewalls between the stores in the shopping center prevented the fire from spreading into the adjoining businesses.

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MONDAY JANUARY 16, A CAR inexplicably drove through the main entrance of a Van Nuys, California, 99¢ store.  Although the car plowed right into the main egress at 1 pm, there were no injuries.  Damages amounted to at least $5,000.99.

KCBS-TV ran this video report:


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A JONESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, TEEN WAS ARRESTED after setting a fire in a Dollar General store on January 14.  The blaze kept the firefighters on the scene for 12 hours as the building was gutted.  There was some extension into other stores in the shopping center, but none of them had major damage with most being able to reopen within 2-3 days.

A 16-yr.-old boy has been charged with the arson, but neither his identity or motive were disclosed by the police.

WGHP-TV has the details in this video report:


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This is a continuing series of fire / rescue incidents involving "dollar stores." Read previous Dollar Store Updates HERE.

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