WATCH: Unbelievable reason behind evacuation of hundreds
A BUTCHER blamed for triggering an alarm that saw hundreds flee from Rockhampton's Stockland in a dramatic evacuation is saying it isn't him.
Wayne Dehass, owner of World Meats said word had travelled quickly that his $30,000 ham smoker triggered the alarm.
But Mr Dehass, who is busy smoking all of his Christmas hams, said he doesn't open his ham smoker when it's half way through smoking.
"It doesn't just let smoke out -- it's a $30,000 machine," he said. "It's all computerised.
"It can [smoke up] if you don't monitor it properly, but we were monitoring it.
"Somebody's made a call that it was us, and it's not right."
Mr Dehass believes it was another nearby restaurant.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service believe fumes from the ham smoker set off the alarm that triggered a mass evacuation.
UPDATE 2pm: A STAFF member from Coffee Club at Stockland Rockhampton told a Morning Bulletin reporter at the scene of today's mass evacuation he'd 'never seen anything like it'.
"Middle of the lunch rush and the fire alarm went off. We don't think it's a drill, they normally give as a warning about it," Jordan Caught said.
"I haven't seen anything like it. They shut down, blocked off half the store, saw a big shutter down. I haven't seen it like this.
"It would have only taken us five minutes, pity it's so hot outside."
A Stockland Rockhampton spokeswoman said the centre was evacuated after a fire alarm went off in the centre.
She said everything was back to normal at the centre and the evacuation was precautionary only.
UPDATE 1.30PM: SMOKEY CHRISTMAS hams at a butcher in Rockhampon's Stockland shopping centre has led to a mass evacuation of the centre.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency spokesman said "fumes" from the butcher's smokey ham set of the alarm.
Firefighters were alerted to an alarm at Stockland at about 1.45pm, prompting an urgent evacuation of every shopper and staff member.
Police manned every entrance to the building, ensuring shoppers exited in an orderly way.
More to come
BREAKING 12.50PM: MULTIPLE police units are responding to Stockland Rockhampton following reports the major shopping centre is being evacuated.
Initial information suggests a fire alarm has been activated and is sounding at the centre however it is unclear if there is a fire, or what exactly is going on.
Shoppers and staff are being rushed from the centre by police.
Police are stationed at every entrance/exit.
More to come