FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale shopping center was closed for further inspection Thursday after a partial ceiling collapse.
Around 10 a.m., heavy stucco came down at the front entrance of the Bealls Outlet store in the Southland Shopping Center on State Road 84, about a mile east of I-95.
Shoppers were inside at the time and were eventually escorted out of the back of the building.
No injuries were reported.
“I heard the big boom and the crash and they said no one can exit through the door here,” said Ted Inserra, who watched the whole thing happen. He said he and his dog Lillie are regulars at this mall.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue spokesman Stephen Gollan said their crews that responded had concerns about the facility and contacted the city’s building department.
Structural engineers were concerned about the entire shopping center, Gollan said, and as a result, all of the businesses in that plaza, including the Winn-Dixie, were closed until they could be deemed safe to re-enter.
“The entire strip shopping center is blocked off,” a city spokesman said. “The city of Fort Lauderdale building inspectors have noted some deflections, possible comprised areas in the integrity of the overhang in other parts of the shopping center. So that’s something they will be looking with along with the structural engineers.”
There are 24 businesses that are part of the strip mall. The front entrances remained closed late Thursday afternoon, but some businesses were serving from the back.
Authorities hope to get the plaza back to normal business by Friday afternoon.
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