It was four days past Black Friday, but 88-year-old shopper Mary Ojida still wanted to look for some bargains.
"For Christmas, you know, today is Tuesday and they give discounts," Ojida said.
Instead, she found herself in the middle of a cloud of smoke and the smell of something burning. Her shopping trip was abruptly ended.
"There was lots of talking and then somebody said, 'The store's on fire! Come on, get out!'" Ojida said.
The fire started near the mall entrance doors of a Palais Royal store, not in a storage area, but nearby. The fuel was the merchandise.
"It was a clothing area. I'm not sure the content of that specific area, but there was clothes all around and from what I could tell, most of it was clothing," Houston Fire Department District Chief Wallace Page said.
After smoke swept through the mall area, employees and customers alike were forced outside. One person was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
The mall will remain closed while crews come in to remove the smoke and whatever fire residue there may be.
Arson investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.
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