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1 man arrested in Roseville Galleria fire and evacuation

1:02 PM, Aug 1, 2011   |    comments
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SLIDESHOW: Galleria fire

ROSEVILLE - Police have arrested Alexander Piggee after a standoff and fire at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville.

After Piggee was in custody, the danger wasn't over.  Even though thick smoke poured out of the roof, firefighters were kept from going inside because of a backpack Piggee left behind and the possibility of an explosive device.

Roseville Police Lt. Michael Doane said the bomb squad was getting ready to examine the backpack, but the fire flared up and technicians were forced to retreat for their own safety.

Pigee did not make any bomb threat, but he claimed to be carrying a gun, according to police.  

For more than four hours, smoke poured from the roof of the mall, even though sprinklers were activated inside. Division Fire Chief Dennis Matheson said crews were kept from the fire because the bomb squad had not given an all-clear signal.

According to Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt, crews are battling the flames from outside the mall.  There is also significant flooding reported on the first floor.

Whitt said he's paged off-duty firefighters from Placer and Sacramento counties to head to the galleria to assist in the battle.

Whitt stressed the importance of police and firefighters working under a unified command and said, "The one thing we want to do as firefighters is to make sure we do not destroy evidence on the scene."

Mall Evacuated

The mall was evacuated Thursday morning after Alexander Piggee allegedly started a fire inside an electronics store on the second floor, then barricaded himself.

Piggee who was speaking incoherently went into the GameStop store around 10:30 a.m., according to Roseville police.  Store employees told police he started a fire in the store and he claimed to be armed.

Police say Piggee barricaded himself in an area just outside the store and started several other fires before he was arrested.

Officers say Alexander Piggee faces charges of aggravated arson and criminal threats.

A police spokesman said there were no reports of hostages or injuries during the standoff.  As far as reports of gunfire, the spokesman said an officer used a "non-lethal device" to break a window, but no shots were fired. 

The corporate office for Westfield Galleria at Roseville had no comment on the fire or the arrest.  

News10/KXTV

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