Police looking for person of interest in J.C. Penney arson

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix mall had to be evacuated after a fire broke out inside a department store Friday morning.

According to the Phoenix Fire Department, flames were 20 feet high during a fire inside the J.C. Penney store at Christown Spectrum Mall at 17th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

The fire reportedly started near fitting rooms in the back of the store.

Sprinklers kept the fire under control and firefighters put out the last flames burning in racks of clothes, according to Phoenix Fire Capt. Scott Walker.

Security personnel evacuated the entire mall as a precaution. No injuries were reported.

There was smoke and water damage to the J.C. Penney store.

The fire was ruled an arson.

The fire is still under investigation, but there could be an arrest soon thanks to surveillance video of a person investigators believe might have started it.

The Phoenix Fire Department is asking the public to help identify a person of interest seen shortly before and after the vicinity of the fire.

They are described as and Hispanic or Native American male 5'10''-6', 250-270 pounds with a  goatee, thick pony tail and possibly driving a red SUV.

The store remains closed, but the rest of the mall is open.

If you have any information for Phoenix police call the Arson Hotline at 602-262-7766 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.