People at Central Florida mall evacuated after explosive device detonates

No one was hurt after an explosion at a Lake Wales Mall, an official said.

Two improvised explosive devices detonated in the corridor of a mall in Lake Wales, Florida, Sunday evening, authorities said.

Troy Schulze said: "They determined that an IED, or a pipe bomb explosive, had detonated in the corridor". The incident took place around 5:30 p.m. EST.

The mall was evacuated. Schulze estimated about 100 people were inside the mall when the explosion happened.

The area where the devices exploded is away from customers and generally only used by employees.

Police are also inspecting another suspicious device that was left near the mall's movie theater.

Whatever parts of the explosive device were not destroyed in the blast will get a close look, and that could narrow down how the explosive was made and who may have made it.

The FBI said there was "no current indication of any terrorist connection to this incident".

"It's very concerning when you think about it", Schulze told CNN affiliate WFLA, who mentioned that his son was working at that mall. "Something that will impact our whole community".

Police said they were searching for a person of interest described as a heavy-set, middle-aged white man wearing a gray shirt and a gray hat, WTSP reported.

Investigators are now turning their efforts to track down a man they believe to be a "person-of-interest".

The items that ignited early Sunday evening at a Florida mall are believed to be marine flares - not pipe bombs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday.

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

  • Jacqueline Ellis