Mall evacuated after pipe bomb detonates, police searching for person of interest

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Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida. (KTRK)

Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida.

Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire Department received an alarm call at the Eagle Ridge Mall. While en route to that call, their alarm for smoke was turned into a structure fire call.

As they arrived, they found smoke in the service corridor just outside J.C. Penney. They discovered an IED that ignited or detonated inside that service corridor as they went inside.

Schulze said they also found a book bag containing what they believed to be other devices inside.

Officials say no one was injured, but the mall was evacuated.

Authorities say witnesses described a person-of-interest. An investigation is ongoing.

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