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People at Polk County mall evacuated after explosive device detonates

23 January 2018
People at Polk County mall evacuated after explosive device detonates

People at the Eagle Ridge Mall, Lake Wales in Florida were quickly evacuated when entrance portion of the mall got blew up by the improvised explosive device (IED).

The FBI and Eagle Ridge Mall said in separate statements two signal flares triggered a fire alarm in an unoccupied area of the facility around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

The devices that went off were a type of flare in a PVC pipe that was wrapped in electrical tape.

There have been no injuries reported.The mall suffered some structural damage in a corridor and a drop ceiling near JC Penney, from the explosions.

Police described the suspected bomber as a white, middle-aged man with a stocky build and was wearing a gray shirt and a gray hat.

Firefighters say an "improvised explosive device" was detonated.

Local authorities are now turning their attention to track down a man they believe to be a "person-of-interest". No one was injured during the explosion, but a backpack was found in the same hall with other possible devices inside, authorities said.

Police then found what they believe to be a detonated device. Troy Schulze, police Deputy Chief at Lake Wales provided all the details about how the incident was occurred.

Emergency services and police personnel from the neighboring counties including Hillsborough Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad responded to the incident.

Dept Schulz said: "It's very concerning to us". We're a family-oriented community.

There was no indication that this was an act of terrorism, officials said.

The mall plans to open for regular mall business hours on Monday (10 a.m.to 9 p.m.).