2 improvised explosive devices ignite in Eagle Ride Mall in Lake Wales, Florida


LAKE WALES, Fla. — Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida.

Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire Department received an alarm call at the Eagle Ridge Mall. While en route to that call, their alarm for smoke was turned into a structure fire call.

As they arrived, they found smoke in the service corridor just outside J.C. Penney.

As they went inside, they discovered two devices described as a type of flare wrapped in PVC and then wrapped in electric tape that had detonated, Schulze told CBS News.  

Officials say no one was injured, but the mall was evacuated.

Authorities say witnesses described a person-of-interest. He was seen running form the scene, reports CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP-TV.

Schulze estimated 100 people were in the mall when the devices went off.

The area where the devices exploded is generally only used by employees, WTSP says.

Schulze wouldn’t speculate on a motive or who might’ve planted the devices. He said the FBI had been notified but it was too early to consider whether the incident was terrorism.

Schulze said investigators will be looking for surveillance video of the person of interest.

After 11 p.m. Sunday, bomb sniffing K9s continued to search each store inside the mall.

The mall was slated to reopen at 10 a.m. Monday.


© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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