Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida. — Police are searching for a man seen running from a mall in central Florida where two explosive devices detonated Sunday evening. Two devices, originally described by authorities as pipe bomb-type devices, detonated in a service corridor near J. The mall was evacuated, and no injuries were reported.
The blasts were in a service corridor used for deliveries. Authorities say witnesses described a person-of-interest who is being sought. The Lake Wales (Fla.) Fire Department responded to a call about a fire at Eagle Ridge Mall around p.m. Schulze estimated about 100 people were inside the mall when the explosion happened.
Lake Wales Deputy Chief Troy Schulze later clarified the devices that exploded were some type of flare in a PVC pipe wrapped in a electrical tape.
MALL EXPLOSION:- 2 pipe bomb-type bombs detonated in corridor mostly used by employees- Explosion happened around , mall closes at 6.- Est. Nobody hurt.- Third suspicious package found near theater. @10News WTSP— Josh Sidorowicz (@joshsidorowicz) January 22, 2018A backpack also was found near the detonated devices, but no other devices were found inside.
The area where the devices exploded is away from customers and generally only used by employees.
Another suspicious device found near the movie theater was later determined to be an "old box" and not a safety threat, Schulze said.
Schulze would not speculate on a motive or who might have planted the devices.
He said the FBI had been notified but that it was too early to consider whether the incident could be terrorism."We’re a family-oriented community, this is a family-oriented mall.
While this was going on my son was actually working up here at the mall," Schulze said during a news conference Sunday night.
“It’s very concerning when you think about it, people here shopping, just enjoying a Sunday afternoon or evening with their family and literally ‘boom.' "Authorities continue to search for a person of interest who witnesses described as a heavy-built, white, middle-aged man wearing a gray shirt and a gray hat.
Schulze said investigators will be looking for surveillance video of the person of interest. ALL CLEAR: Suspicious package found near theatre deemed to be nothing, just an old box.
Bomb-sniffing dogs were used to search each store inside the mall. Authorities with bomb sniffing K9 still searching store to store.