Posted 9:22 PM 5/30/2012 : Fire at Park Place Mall
TUCSON - A grease fire shut down Park Place Mall Wednesday evening.
Dozens of stores, restaurants and the movie theater were evacuated.
The fire started in the Food Court. Fire officials estimate more than a thousand people were evacuated.
Dozens watched as Tucson fire got the flames under control. Officials say a McDonald's grill caught fire and the flames spread.
"The flames reached up into the hood and before the hood system could put them out, the flames got into the ventilation system and made their way to the roof," said Battalion Chief Pat Quinn with Tucson Fire.
Quinn says the alarm sounded at 6:39pm and within three minutes fire crews were on scene.
Shoppers, employees and movie goers were evacuated.
"We were just walking towards the food court and they were just yelling at us got back the other direction, go back to the other side," said shopper Ryan Wells.
"I was with my friend and we were walking through Spencers looking for posters and all of a sudden we heard an alarm. There's usually music so I thought it went along with the music, turns out it was the alarm and we went walking to the food court. Next thing you know they have everyone come back and you see the smoke," said shopper Deanna Jurado.
Quinn says the fire was contained to the ventilation system, where it burned itself out, "Well it got very hot. we were using our thermal imaging cameras and they were up over 900 degrees fahrenheit."
He gives credit to those who were evacuated, they remained calm.
"I'm glad no one got hurt because you'd except people to be running like in the movies or something," said Jurado.
Damage is estimated at 100 thousand dollars. The mall will re-open as normal Thursday except for McDonalds.
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