The shoppers thought they heard gunfire and believed an active shooter was on the loose Thursday. But it was only the sound of popping balloons.
Footage of the chaos inside the Florida Mall in Orlando was shot by Mark Comer.
Six balloons popped as part of a test of the fire alarm system inside a new an eatery owned by former NYSNC star Joey Fatone. The singer and actor is opening a hot dog eatery in the mall called Fat One’s.
"The Orange County Fire Inspector was there as a witness to the test, but did not conduct the test," officials said in a statement. "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."
Mall spokesperson Les Morris said in a statement: "This afternoon at one of the food kiosks in the Dining Pavilion at Florida Mall, the Orange County Fire Marshall's office was performing a fire suppression test. As part of this test, a bladder system within the device unexpectedly popped several times, startling some customers. The test has been concluded. Florida Mall remained open and is operating as usual."
Just two weeks ago, chaos erupted at New York’s JFK Airport after passengers mistakenly thought shots had rang out at the bustling transport hub.
It was another false alarm reportedly caused by fans cheering for Usain Bolt during the Olympics.