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Burned California mall hopes to reopen for holidays

Roseville, Calif. City officials said that portions of Westfield Galleria at Roseville, which burned on Thursday after an arson fire, are expected reopen in time for the holiday shopping season.

The upscale regional mall in Roseville, Calif., was consumed by an arson fire that collapsed portions of the roof, destroyed 20 stores and caused at least $6.5 million in damage.

Yet city officials said unburned sections of the 1.3 million-sq.-ft. mall, owned by Los Angeles-based Westfield, could reopen within weeks, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Among the stores destroyed by the fire, which was set at the GameStop location, were Finish Line, Anchor Blue and PacSun. Macy’s and J.C. Penney were near the fire’s origin but did not sustain severe damage.

Large portions of the roof collapsed onto the burned section of the mall, and a major supporting wall spanning about 200 feet was in danger of collapse.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency after officials projected damage would top $6.5 million. The emergency declaration will help those who have lost jobs and will suspend certain rules to accelerate reconstruction.

Twenty-three-year-old Alexander Corney Piggee is being held without bail on suspicion of arson, entering a building intending to commit arson and making criminal threats. GameStop employees told police that Piggee said he had a gun, made incoherent statements about his family and ordered them out of the store before he set it on fire and hid in a back room.

© 2014