Firefighters were called to an alert inside Lakeside shopping centre, West Thurrock, after a smoke canister was set off in a shop and filled the shopping centre’s Debenhams end with smoke.
The building was evacuated by centre staff just after 9:10pm on Tuesday, 7 May 2013, at the north end of the shopping centre, near to Debenhams. Half of the shopping centre was filled with smoke when crews arrived shortly afterwards at the scene, billowed from the first floor.
Four fire crews from Grays and Orsett were called out, and wearing breathing apparatus, they quickly worked to stop the smoke flow, before using high pressure fans to clear the air from the centre of smoke.
At 9:55pm, ventilation was in progress at the centre, but no casualties have been reported.
The incident was dealt with by 10:10pm.
Via its Twitter feed, @intuLakeside confirmed the smoke had been released by an anti-theft device that went off in error. “We can confirm that part of the centre was evacuated due to a false alarm this evening #evac the smoke was caused by an anti theft device in one of our shops that went off in error.”
In a statement on intu Lakeside Facebook, the centre said: “We can confirm that due to a false alarm of an anti theft smoke canister going off in one of our shops part of the centre was evacuated this evening before 10pm. The centre will re-open as usual tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10am.”