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Fire forces Park Place evacuation

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Fire forces Park Place evacuation

CREATED May 30, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A peaceful night at the mall---but no one was shopping for this: a fire at the food court that led to evacuations.

Tucson Fire got an alarm for Park Place about 6:40 or so, rushed here and went to work, while Tucson Police evacuated the mall.  No one was seriously hurt but it certainly disrupted the night.

When you go to the mall you expect time in the great indoors, but a grease fire at the food court McDonalds, brought Tucson Fire in, and mall workers and patrons out.
Raul Chavez saw the fire grow, it from the restaurant where he works.

"It started like really slowly and then there was like this big smoke and I guess they tried to turn it off and all of a sudden it just blew up and people just started jumping over the counters. 

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith: "Jumping over the counters?"

Chavez: "The thing is the two cashiers, they were standing there looking at it and we were looking at ---like---there's a fire, you know, why are you standing there?"

Retail worker Marisol Perez says, "I was freaking out.  We didn't know what to do.  Do we stay, do we close do we go?  We didn't know what to do so we just waited 'til our store manager told us exactly what to do."
While Tucson Fire went to work on the fire, Tucson Police went to work keeping the evacuees a safe distance from all the fire equipment.

Deputy Fire Chief Pat Quinn says: "We went to the roof.  We were able to pry open some of the vents and the tubes were on fire. We were able to use the thermal imaging cameras to make sure which ones were hot.  We got it extinguished and now we're just waiting for it all to cool down."
Finally things did cool down enough to let everyone back in about 8pm.

We expect the McDonalds to be out of action for awhile maybe the fast food places on either side of McDonalds but overall the mall should be close to back to normal.