ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - What was first thought to be the sound of gunfire erupting at an Orlando-area mall on Thursday was later confirmed by authorities to FOX 35 as a fire test involving balloons.
As part of an inspection for the grand opening of Joey Fatone's new restaurant, located in the food court of Florida Mall, mall management scheduled a balloon test, which they said is an industry standard test.
"The test was scheduled through a contracted vendor and the Orange County Fire Inspector was there as a witness to the test but did not conduct the test," said Rose Silva, Public Information Officer with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Silva said an announcement was made on the PA system informing shoppers and employees the test would be conducted. The test consisted of six large balloons popping consecutively, followed by a fire alarm.
"This caused people to go into panic mode and run," Silva said.
Four people were transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center, Hunters Creek ER, FH Kissimmee, and Dr. Phillips Hospital, respectively. All received minor injuries.