According to the local department's Facebook page, a car fire broke out in the mall parking lot shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday. Smoke from the fire entered the mall's ventilation system, forcing Macy's employees to shuffle customers away from the noxious fumes.
At some point one of the evacuees knocked over a large metal display stanchion located on the main level of Macy's. This large noise, which might have sounded similar to a gun shot [sic], caused a cascade of panic and more people began to quickly evacuate the area. As the crowd rushed from the store on both the main and lower levels of Macys, another display setup, located on the lower level of Macy's, near the mall entrance, toppled over causing additional large noises.