For the second time in six years, a fire has broken out at a North Miami Beach Costco store, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of customers and staff.
The blaze broke out around noon Monday on a top shelf near the pharmacy. The lights quickly went out a few minutes later. Shoppers and employees were all hustled out through the front door after an alarm went off. Fire exits were not immediately opened. Outside, a cashier directed traffic.
"People started running, and the staff told them to slow down," one shopper said. "I'm not sure why they didn't open those doors."
No one was hurt in the blaze, which was first called into Miami-Dade Fire Rescue at 12:37 p.m., said a spokesman. Five units responded, but the blaze was out before they arrived. North Miami Beach doesn't have its own fire department but pays the county for service.
The store, at 14585 Biscayne Blvd., was closed and mostly rebuilt after an overnight Christmastime fire in 2008. Back then, North Miami Beach fire officials estimated the store was about 100,000 square feet. They said that fire had also started on a top shelf, amid baby diapers.
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The store was closed for months after that fire.
This time, the store was quickly reopened for business. A call to Costco managers is pending. This post will be updated when they call back.