SPOKANE, Wash.-- A water leak and roof collapse Wednesday forced evacuations of Riverpark Square in Downtown Spokane.
Some shoppers told KREM 2 News the incident left then panicked and not knowing why they were being evacuated. The mall said it was a minor issue that caused the large response.
PHOTOS: Damage in RiverPark Square
When firefighters responded Wednesday evening, they found water pouring into the White House Black Market clothing store. The shop is near the Spokane Falls entrance of the building. The clothing store was the only shop reportedly affected by the collapse.
Investigators said the roof was weak because of water damage, so water flooded the store. That is when a fire alarm went off and told shoppers to find the nearest exit.
People inside the mall thought they were in danger when the alarm went off. Cheryl Blake was in the mall when it happened and said she asked employees inside a store for help but they didn’t know what to do.
The mall’s Public Safety Manager, Charlie Lathrum, said it’s difficult to manage emergencies because the security officers are in charge of common areas and stores have their own corporate policies for alarms.
Riverpark Square said they use the fire alarm in all emergencies and they use a recorded message to tell people to get out of the building. The message will provide any important details about avoiding certain floors or what the issue might be inside.