Electrical fire closes Mall of Americas

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Published Saturday, August 26, 2000, in the Miami Herald

Electrical fire closes Mall of Americas The fire began when one of the cables that feeds electricity to the mall exploded, melting 15 feet of the cable. BY CAROLYN SALAZAR csalazar@herald.com

Mall of the Americas closed three hours early Friday night after a cable inside the electrical room caught fire, knocking out the mall's electricity and causing smoke to billow out of the building.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames and no one was injured. Florida Power & Light electricians worked throughout the evening to restore the power so the mall could reopen today.

The fire began when one of the cables that feeds electricity to the mall blew about 6:15 p.m., melting 15 feet of the cable, said Lee Hubbs, a restoration supervisor for FPL. The fire occurred in the southeast section of the mall, in a tiny room where FPL stores its electrical equipment.

Inside the mall, the lights flickered momentarily before the mall blacked out. Customers were shuffled out of the building, and the stores quickly shut down.

``I was teaching a class with about 20 people when suddenly it went dark in the class and the power went out,'' said Rodrigo Medeiros, an instructor for New Horizon Computer Learning Center at the mall.

A security guard riding a bicycle nearby when the cable caught fire heard a loud boom and noticed the smoke. He alerted management, said Roland Rodriguez, the mall's property manager.

``As soon as we saw that the electricity wasn't coming back, we quickly evacuated the mall,'' Rodriguez said.

Esperanza Rodriguez said she was shopping at a jewelry store at Mall of the Americas with her four children when he lights went out. But she didn't give up easily.

At 7:15 p.m., Rodriguez and her children were still waiting for electricity to be restored so they could watch a movie. ``I guess I'm going to have to take them somewhere else.''


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), August 26, 2000

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