GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A fire which forced the evacuation of Gwinnett Place Mall Thursday afternoon was believed to be accidental in nature, according to the Gwinnett County Fire Department.
It happened just before 5 p.m. Firefighters said they found some smoke on the second-level near the atrium. Fire crews quickly discovered a smoldering fire inside the HEEL QUIK shoe repair store. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze. The fire was contained to the one store suite.
There was reportedly an employee working at the machine when the fire erupted, according to the Gwinnett Fire Department. The employee escaped unharmed. The mall was completely evacuated due to the amount of smoke.
The mall remained closed the rest of the night while crews worked to evacuate the smoke from the building.
The fire did set off the fire suppression sprinklers. Authorities said there was extensive water damage to the suite and in the corridor immediately outside the business and that water seeped down to the first floor directly below.
Police were called in to completely evacuate the building. There were no injuries reported.
Repairs to the affected areas were well underway late Thursday night and the mall is expected to open for business Friday.