By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue units responded to a two alarm fire Saturday night (Dec. 21) at JCPenney in the Westfield Mall in Brandon.
The initial call came in at around 11:30 pm while the store was still open and as shoppers were finalizing their purchases.
According to HCFR Fire Marshall David Tucker the fire seems to have started with an electrical display located at the store’s bottom floor and spread to merchandise nearby filling the building with heavy smoke.
“Sprinklers took care of most of the fire and crews had very little fire to put out” Tucker said.
Unfortunately with an inch of water throughout the bottom floor, the damage to the store was much bigger.
Early estimation reached the $1 million loss, mainly of merchandise due to water and smoke damage.
The 148,000 square foot building will be closed until further notice while the rest of the mall operations will remain open as normal.
With 15 fire investigations in the past 72 hours it’s been already a very busy holiday season for HCFR.
Will update as more information becomes available.