Explosive devices detonate at mall in central Florida

Jan. 22 (UPI) — Police are searching for a man suspected of setting off two improvised explosive devices at a shopping mall in central Florida.

Authorities responded to an alarm call at the Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales Sunday evening as smoke billowed from an area of the complex.

Two pipe bomb devices and a backpack with other possible explosives were found in a corridor of the mall, Deputy Chief Troy Schulze, a spokesperson for the City of Lake Wales, said.

The devices were composed of flares inside of a PVC pipe and were stashed close to a loading dock.

The mall was evacuated and no one was injured, officials said. The building received some structural damage.

“I’m grateful for Florida’s first responders and law enforcement who are working to keep everyone safe in Lake Wales tonight,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said on Twitter.

Witnesses described the suspect as a middle-aged white male wearing a grey shirt and hat. He is considered a “person of interest” in the case.

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