ABC News screenshot

A Florida mall was evacuated Sunday evening after two improvised explosive devices were detonated inside a service corridor.

According to ABC News, the blast from the IEDs caused damage to a drop ceiling at the Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales, Fla., as well as structural damage to an area along the corridor wall of a delivery area.

There were, thankfully, no injuries reported, and after police arrived at the scene, the mall was evacuated and a perimeter established.

The incident began to unfold around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, when emergency responders from surrounding counties initially responded to a ā€œsmoke alarmā€ inside the unpopulated service corridor. As responders approached the site, the situation was then upgraded to a ā€œstructural fire.ā€

It was only when authorities got to the scene that ā€œthey determined that an IED, or a pipe bomb explosive, had detonated in the corridor,ā€ Lake Wales Deputy Police Chief Troy Schulze noted.


Authorities later determined that it was not just one pipe bomb that exploded, but two.

The blast, however, went off in an area where ā€œthere were no shoppers,ā€ and was contained to the remote service corridor, which also helped mitigate casualties.

From there, details get more disturbing. A bomb squad canvassing the blast site later found a ā€œbackpack or book bag that contained five or six other IEDs that were not detonatedā€ as the smoke receded and the flames were being put out.


ā€œIt could have been a lot more dangerous,ā€ Schulze noted.

The devices were ā€œsafely removedā€ from the scene, authorities said.

ā€œWe had guys go in and do a cursory search to make sure there wasnā€™t anything else suspicious or out of place,ā€ Schulze added.


Authorities are now working on tracking down a man they think is a ā€œperson of interestā€ in the case, ABC notes. Several witnesses reported seeing a middle-aged man with a ā€œheavy/stocky build, wearing a gray shirt and gray hat,ā€ running from the area.

ā€œIf anybody knows or hears anything, we hope they would contact us,ā€ Schulze said.

Read more at ABC News.