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Explosive device triggers fire at Florida mall, forcing evacuation

Explosive device triggers fire at Florida mall, forcing evacuation

An improvised explosive device caused a fire at a central Florida mall Sunday evening and forced the building to be evacuated.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said firefighters were called to the Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales shortly before 5:30 p.m. When they arrived, they found smoke coming from a corridor located next to the mall’s JCPenny entrance.

The firefighters determined that one device had been detonated in the corridor, and found a backpack with other possible explosive devices in it.

The blast caused no injuries, but investigators said there was damage to the ceiling and corridor walls.

EagleRidgeMall720

The Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales, Fla. was evacuated Sunday evening.  (Eagle Ridge Mall)

Investigators say they are looking for a person of interest, described as a middle-aged white man with a heavy or stocky build who was wearing a grey shirt and grey hat.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake Wales Police Department at (863)678-4223 or Heartland Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-8477.

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