Shoppers were evacuated from the Westfield Palm Desert mall Monday morning due to an electrical problem that was quickly handled.
Firefighters responded about 11 a.m. to reports of smoke coming from an electrical panel, but there was no active fire, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. Utility crews were also sent to the scene.
Robert Hetch is a trainer at the World Gym inside the mall, he said clients were evacuated immediately, he said, “We told people to get out, get out, they left their keys, their purses, their wallets, they were in the shower and we had to rush them out of the shower.”
He said at first he thought the incident might be a false alarm since an alarm rang out after they knew of the incident.
He said he had a feeling it was not a drill when first responders went inside the gym and began clearing the room. Hetch said, “The fireman that usually come in and work out and they are fun and do their thing, they’re totally different when there’s an emergency.”
The mall was evacuated for about an hour as a precaution, the fire department reported. No injuries were reported, Cal Fire and the utility Edison Electric are continuing with the investigation.