Edgewater Mall was evacuated Tuesday night after smoke filled an area near the building’s south-side entrance.
Eight Biloxi Fire Department vehicles, including two ladder trucks, responded to the mall shortly before 7 p.m. and ordered all shoppers and employees out of the building.
Tim Brooks of Vancleave said he was walking out of Sears and saw a large cloud of smoke fill the inside of the mall near the south entrance.
“Right in the middle of the mall there was smoke, a pretty good bit,” he said. “They made everybody go outside.”
He said the smoke completely covered the carousel that’s in the middle of the walkway.
Mall manager Terry Powell said firefighters climbed onto the roof to inspect an air-conditioner unit suspected to be the source of the smoke.
Biloxi Fire Battalion Chief Andy Mason confirmed Powell’s statements.
“Due to the smell of burnt rubber and after sending crews onto the roof to inspect the units, we feel it’s most likely some kind of A/C issue,” Mason said.
The smoke began to dissipate after mall maintenance personnel shut down the units, and no damage or signs of fire were found, Mason said.
Powell said the air-conditioner unit may have been somehow affected by lightning or rain.
“We’ve got an A/C company coming out to check all the units,” he said. “We will reopen first thing (Wednesday) morning at 10.”