Heavy rains collapse ceiling at Charlotte mall

July 20, 2012 - 6:38 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina mall was evacuated Friday when a thunderstorm that produced heavy rain caused the ceiling to collapse, officials said.

The ceiling at SouthPark collapsed around 5 p.m., said Charlotte Fire Department Capt. Rob Brisley. He said by the time firefighters were dispatched to the mall, an evacuation was already under way. Brisley said firefighters also pulled the alarm systems in the mall to help with the evacuation, which he described as orderly.

No injuries were reported.

Brisley said firefighters were focusing on making sure the building was safe, and that the water damage could be addressed by mall workers.

Mall personnel couldn't be reached for additional comment Friday afternoon.

It's estimated that up to 3 inches of rain fell on south Charlotte in approximately 45 minutes, said Rodney Hinson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C. Hinson said additional rain was likely to pass over Charlotte Friday night.