PORT RICHEY, Fla. (FOX 13) - Gulf View Square Mall was evacuated Wednesday morning due to a natural gas leak, the source of which remained a mystery late into the day.
According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, mall security called 911 around 10:15 to report the smell of gas. Firefighters responded and confirmed the presence of natural gas, then evacuated the mall.
"If it was something that was a huge leak and it was whistling in the pipe, it would be something that we could find easy," said Corey Dierdorff, a spokesperson for the fire department. "Something that was a small leak -- and this was a gas build up that's built up over time -- it's going to take a little longer."
The first people who reported smelling gas work at Ulta Beauty, just inside the main entrance.
"Right by the steakhouse and inside of the mall, it smelled like propane gas," said Michelle Peck, an employee at Ulta Beauty. "It's really concerning because right now we have a lot of stylists who are pregnant, we have clients, we work with chemicals and, in front of the mall, I know a lot of people like to have smoke breaks so it's really concerning because anything could have happened if it was a gas leak."
By 1:15 p.m., gas to the building was shut off and the entire mall was ventilated. A half-hour later, business owners and employees were being allowed to re-enter.
PCFR said gas to the mall would remain shut off until the source of the leak could be found.
"We're thankful that they called early and that we were able to get in there and handle the situation, no one was injured," Dierdorff said.
According to investigators, Harold Seltzer's Steakhouse is the only location at the mall with natural gas access.
No injuries were reported.