UPDATE: Officials Say Mall Store Fire Caused By Cigarette

Fire officials say a fire inside the Jacksonville Mall Wednesday, was caused by an employee's cigarette.

Fire Inspector John Reed says that the assistant manager of the Western Wear was smoking a cigarette in the stock room of the store. He says that she smoked about half the cigarette, put it out on an ash tray, and then dumped the ash tray in a waste can with paper in it.

Reed says about 15 minutes later, the employee smelled smoke coming from the stock room. When she opened it, it was full smoke.

The fire has been ruled accidental.

The mall was evacuated for several hours, but later reopened.

No word yet on charges against the employee.

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A fire inside the Jacksonville Mall forced an evacuation Thursday morning.

Officials say the fire was inside the Western Wear store in the mall on Western Boulevard.

The mall was evacuated. The fire has been put out, and crews are cleaning up. There were no injuries.

Fire officials say the flames started around 11 a.m. and were discovered by a store manager.

The fire inspector tells WITN they are trying to figure out if the fire spread through the walls. Smoke filled the corridors of the mall.

The mall fully reopened early Thursday afternoon.

The cause is still under investigation.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by LCR Location: ENC on Jan 28, 2012 at 05:25 AM
    Can you say dumb person? This person should have known better than to dump the ash tray in a waste basket...next time, try going outside, it works a whole lot better!!!!
  • by Melissa Location: NC on Jan 27, 2012 at 02:54 PM
    Looks like someone is getting fired...
  • by The Original ENC Location: enc on Jan 27, 2012 at 01:13 PM
    they still allow smoking in malls?! Ewww...just nasty.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Jan 27, 2012 at 12:06 PM
    Glad the employee was honest, but for crying out loud! What part of 'hot cinders' touching 'dry paper' in a 'waste can' did she not understand???
  • by Let me guess? on Jan 27, 2012 at 11:03 AM
    62 firefighters showed up. One person with a "shoe"could have put that fire out...
  • by ANS Location: PINK HILL on Jan 27, 2012 at 09:15 AM
    JACKSONVILLE HAS THE BEST MALL.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 27, 2012 at 08:53 AM
    The employee should be fired, should have to pay for any damage caused, and should issue an public apology on WITN 7. lol.
  • by Buy a vowel please, cuz you don't GET IT. on Jan 27, 2012 at 08:52 AM
    Huh, didn't know smoking was legal in stockrooms. Guess rules and laws don't apply to stupid people as well. I thought that it was only the thugs.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2012 at 03:56 PM
    Can we still go to the mall?
  • by To bad on Jan 26, 2012 at 01:09 PM
    To bad it didn't burn to the ground. That mall is awful and should have been torn down years ago. With the population in Jacksonville, it should be able to support a nice mall like crabtree.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2012 at 02:37 PM in reply to To bad
      that mall is one of the best in the eastern part of NC.
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