Police still searching for teens who set off fireworks inside Publix
(Courtesy: Atlanta Fire Rescue)
ATLANTA - Atlanta police are still searching for two teens accused of setting off a fireworks display at a grocery store Thursday afternoon.
It happened around 5 p.m. at the Publix at Princeton Lakes, which is located in the 3700 block of Carmia Drive SW just off Camp Creek Parkway.
The supermarket was evacuated after a fire began. Witnesses said sparks were flying across the front entrance of the store.
“Seemed as if it were something like an active shooter, I heard a loud bang," said shopper Quaniah Stevenson. "I hit the ground, someone pushed me, people started running, everything was frantic, there was yelling, there was screaming, there was crying."
Investigators said surveillance video shows two teenage boys lingering around the fireworks display before setting it on fire.
"Me and my grandson were looking at balloons and next thing you know I heard a big explosion I look back and there are sparks going everywhere," said shopper Serena Bradford, who used a mat to shield her seven-year-old grandson from the flying sparks. "We finally managed to crawl into the next office, I was able to call 911, I tried to leave but it was so dark and smoky."
Fire officials said employees were essential in evaluating the shoppers and are grateful no one was seriously injured.
"There was one person who was taken to go get checked out, very minor injury and then two children were also checked out for possible smoke inhalation," said Sgt. Cortez Stafford, Atlanta Fire Department.
"By the grace of God, if a small child would have been in the middle of that, they probably would not have survived," said Stevenson.
"We are blessed, it could have went differently," said Bradford.
Instagram video shared with FOX 5 News shows water coming out of the doors of the supermarket and the fire alarm going off. Several firefighters and paramedics were spotted at the scene.
The Publix was closed for the rest of Thursday, but reopened on Friday.
Anyone who recognizes either of the two teens is asked to call the Atlanta Fire Department. Officials are offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of the teens for arson.