BRANDON, Fla. -- Hillsborough County Fire Rescue responded to a two alarm fire inside JC Penney at Brandon mall around 11:30 Saturday night.
Several employees were inside the store when the fire started.
The employees quickly left the building and called 911.
Fire rescue arrived within minutes to find a 148,000 square feet store with heavy smoke coming from the doors.
Crews immediately entered the structure with hose lines and extinguished a fire that was coming from inside a wall. Due to the size of the structure, and heavy smoke produced by the fire, a major ventilation operation was conducted to remove the smoke from the building. Tampa Fire Rescue ventilation unit assisted with the operation.
It took fire rescue crews three and a half hours to remove the smoke from the store while preventing any smoke going into the rest of the mall. The building sustained severe smoke damage to the entire store, water damage to the first floor as well as fire damage to one area. A Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Fire investigator was called to the scene and after a complete investigation it was determined that the fire was accidental electrical in nature. JCPENNEY management was called to the scene for an evaluation.
The store will be closed as a result of the incident, however the rest of the mall is not affected and will be open.