It was a chaotic scene this afternoon at University Heights Mall on the corner of Shelboure and McKenzie.
Saanich Fire crews were called around 11:30 in the morning after the alarm bells went off in the mall.
They arrived to find a fire inside one of the aisles of the Home Depot.
The heavy smoke activated the sprinklers but crews were able to contain the fire within the retail area of the building.
Crews evacuated the entire mall due to safety and air quality concerns.
Fire fighters upgraded the alarm to a high risk structure fire which required deployment of all available resources.
“We ended up having a command vehicle, rescue truck, two engines and two ladder trucks, mutual aid on standby and fire investigator on sight as well,” said Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Frank MacDonald.
The north and south bound lanes were closed at Shelbourne and McKenzie as well as Cedar Hill, snarling traffic and creating major delays for a portion of the day.
There was heavy smoke and water damage to a section of the Home Depot, but luckily no one was hurt. No word yet on how the fire was started but an investigation is underway.