SOUTH PORTLAND — The Maine Mall was evacuated for about an hour late Saturday afternoon while firefighters investigated a problem with a sprinkler pipe.

Acting Deputy Dan Roberts of the South Portland Fire Department said firefighters responded to a call around 3:45 p.m. about a broken sprinkler pipe in the space formerly occupied by Sports Authority, a sporting goods store. The pipe had most likely frozen, according to the fire department.

They shut off the water to the sprinkler system in that space, Roberts said.

Employees said they received word about 4 p.m. to close their stores and ask all customers to leave the mall.

“We got a call from security, and they told us we had to evacuate,” said Best Buy employee Shawn Welch.

Many customers left the mall, while others waited in their cars with their engines running or went to nearby stores and restaurants not affected by the evacuation.

Shortly after 5 p.m., mall security personnel sounded the all-clear and customers were allowed back inside the mall. Most stores reopened shortly thereafter but a few remained closed as of 5:30 p.m.

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