The Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office announced Monday night that two boys, ages 17 and 15, have been arrested in connection with the arson fire set at the Walmart Supercenter near Covington on Sunday night.
The fire marshal's office said the two boys were booked into the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center on one count each of aggravated arson, conspiracy to commit aggravated arson, and manufacturing and possession of a delayed action incendiary device. Their names were not released.
Company officials could not say Monday how long the store will remain closed due to the fire, which was set while a couple hundred shoppers and employees were inside the big box store.
The store, located on U.S. 190 just north of Interstate 12, was evacuated after the fire was reported at around 8:15 p.m. on Sunday.
St. Tammany's 12th Fire District responded to the call. No one was injured.
Authorities say the blaze was intentionally set in the automotive section, and the state Fire Marshal's Office said the fire "consumed an aisle of products."
The fire marshal's office had released images of two boys taken from surveillance cameras in the store, and they were seen leaving the parking lot in an SUV.
Ollie Brumfield, chief of prevention for St. Tammany's 12th Fire District, said the store could remain closed for a few weeks due to heavy smoke and water damage.
Walmart said it is working to get the store reopened as quickly as possible but did not offer a timeframe. It will work with Neighborhood Market stores at 2800 North Hwy 190 in Covington and 3009 East Causeway Approach in Mandeville "to temporarily manage our customers’ shopping and prescription needs," the company said.