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Thursday, Aug 16, 2018
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Police release photos of men sought for questioning in Florida mall blast

LAKE WALES — Police say two devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.

According to the FBI, bomb technicians examining the contents of a backpack found at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales on Sunday afternoon did not find any explosive materials.

Instead, officials said, the items appear to be marine flares that were ignited in a hallway.

There was no indication that this was an act of terrorism, officials said.

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 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.

Schulze said the devices were described as a type of flare, inside a pvc pipe, and then wrapped in electric tape.

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.

Schulze said it is uncertain how the devices were ignited, and the blast resulted in minimal damage.

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

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