By Ross Guidotti

WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) – Some shoppers at the Century III Mall got a little more than they bargained for during the Black Friday rush.

An elevator fire prompted an evacuation for parts of the mall after it filled with smoke.

Shoppers have since been allowed back inside the mall, but part of Sears is still closed while crews clean up from the fire.

“I was walking back through the mall to get my car and it was all smoky,” Lisa Haberjak said. “They were just evacuating the store. At that point, they didn’t know what was wrong.”

As people streamed out, firefighters entered the building in search of the source of the smoke.

“They have a two-story elevator. It was contained to the motor of the elevator and then the oil and everything just smoked up the whole mall. There were heavy flames on the motor,” West Mifflin Assistant Fire Chief Bill Pellikan said. “This could have been serious, yes, but it was contained to the elevator shaft.”

Once the fire was out, the ventilation process began. Water and fire damage is considered to be minimal, but millions of dollars of merchandise on hand for Black Friday could be ruined due to the smoke.

The mall is open and the top floor of Sears is open for business. The bottom floor may take longer to reopen due to the ventilation process.


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