The Mount Pleasant Fire department responded to a “suspicious” fire at Ric’s Food Center, 705 S. Mission St., early Thursday morning.
When firefighters arrived to the store at 3:39 a.m., they found a display rack had been ignited, activating the store’s sprinkler system. The store suffered smoke and water damage following the incident.
“A lot of the damage was due to the water suppression system,” said Lt. Rick Beltinck of the MPFD. “There was a lot of smoke and water damage around the rack.”
Two white men have been identified as being present in the store at the time of the fire.
The Department of Public Safety is currently investigating the incident and has released surveillance photos of the individuals taken during the time of the fire. They are working on acquiring video footage from the store as well.
“We’re looking for two potential witnesses,” Beltinck said. “We don’t have these very often. Not to my knowledge is there any connection to CMU students.”
According to Beltinck, Mount Pleasant Public Safety is classifying the fire as “suspicious” until more information is acquired. The Michigan Arson Prevention Committee has offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest or conviction of the people who started the fire.
Police Detective Dave Sabuda said that a “suspicious” fire is classified as one without an identified ignition source, leading investigators to believe that it was started by a person. Along with sending out the images and asking for tips, police canvassed the neighborhood for any information related to the incident.
“I sure hope we find him,” Sabuda said. “Sometimes weird things do happen. It’s often just a matter of going through all the evidence.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to report tips to public safety’s anonymous tip line at 989-779-9111.