Businesses at Southgate Mall told to close until building is up to fire code

WAFF 48s Aria Pons Reporting
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 11:09 AM CDT
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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - Businesses in Southgate Mall in Muscle Shoals are closed until further notice.

Fire officials say this is because the building’s water lines are not operating, leaving it without fire protection. Muscle Shoals Fire Department officials handed out letters to business owners on August 29, explaining why they have to shut down for the time being. Tammy Thigpen is just one of the managers at a business attached to Southgate Mall.

”We have no idea what’s going to happen,” Thigpen said.

The only businesses allowed to stay open are the ones on the outer edge of the property such as Chick-Fil-A. Tenants in the mall said they are frustrated and wondering why they were not warned sooner by their landlord.

“Well for now they just walked in at 4 o’clock and told us that we can’t come back to work until further notice,” Thigpen said. “So we have no idea. So none of us have jobs. They’ve said this has been an ongoing issue. So I don’t know who has dropped the ball if it’s the landlords or the owners. They wait until the very end and then tell us that we can’t come back to work.”

Mall tenants are not the only ones that said they are frustrated. Wednesday is the first day of businesses being closed and several customers stopped by without knowing. William Nichols was trying to get to Boost Mobile to pay his phone bill.

“Now I don’t have a phone,” Nichols said. “I’m already on crutches. It’s kind of frustrating. Now I can’t call nobody. I’ve got to have a phone today. I mean this business, I just don’t know, it’s about got me tore up.”

Management must fix the issues with the fire protection system before anyone can reopen. We reached out to the Aronov company who manages the mall. Company officials said they are still looking into the problem and gathering information.

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