The inventory at the Walmart store in North Sydney, N.S., is being removed after a marine flare was lit inside the store Nov. 6.
The damage is "in the millions," said Alex Roberton, the senior director of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada. He said smoke from the flare left a residue throughout the store.
"The substance itself is sticky and it's not water soluble, so you can't wash it off," Roberton said.
Roberton said he doubted anything could be salvaged.
"When we have to do something like this, if there is a fire or a flood in the store, we always try to identify what we could possibly donate. In this case, we don't know if there is going to be anything that we are going to be able to donate," Roberton said.
The Cape Breton Regional Fire Service's haz-mat team said the smoke was non-toxic, but Roberton said there were irritants in the residue.
As the inventory is being removed, the store is being cleaned from top to bottom and then the inventory will be replaced.
Roberton said the cleanup is going well and if all goes according to plan, the store will reopen on Nov. 24 — Black Friday.
Similar flare found at school
Roberton said Walmart employees are still being paid while the store is closed. He said some of them are working at other Walmarts in Sydney.
Cape Breton Regional Police said they were working with store officials as they assess the damage and review video surveillance.
A similar discharged flare was found under a stairwell at nearby Memorial High School in Sydney Mines three days after the Walmart incident.
Police believe the flares were stolen from a former commercial business where "a very large number" of marine emergency flares were stored.