ELLENTON -- A fire that apparently started near the roof overhanging a store sign at the Ellenton Premium Outlets closed the south half of the mall Friday night.
Eight units from North River Fire District weredispatched at about 5:54 p.m., officials said, whenthe breezeway's roof above the sign for the Brooks Brothers Factory Store caught fire.
Witnesses said it started with sparks and grew into flames as smoke billowed above the mall. The fire ignited about the same time that all store signs were lit at nightfall, adjacent store employees said.
The south half of the mall was evacuated while fire crews worked the blaze until about 8:30 p.m.
A cause for the fire will be released when the investigation is completed, officials said.
Employees huddled outside the mall sharing coats and blankets as temperatures stared to dip after sunset.
No injuries were reported and there are no immediate estimates on damage. Officials said the fire was contained mostly to the roof area.
After firefighters deemed the area safe, store managers were allowed access to cash out registers, retrieve personal belongings and close for the night.
Mall officials said while Brooks Brothers will be closed, the rest of the mall will be open for business at 10 a.m. Saturday.