By Ted Scouten

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami-Dade Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at the food court Friday evening at the Dolphin Mall. It turned out to be a false alarm.

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It happened at around 6:30 p.m., as shoppers were seen running out of the mall in apparent panic, but most continued shopping after the brief scare.

Sweetwater police said there were minor injuries while people were running during the fire alarm scare.

“All we were doing was just sitting down all of a sudden all you just see is a crowd of people running,” Giovanni Ponce said.

Sweetwater police confirmed smoke from a kitchen triggered the alarm.

One tourist who is visiting from Mexico has an experience she won’t forget.

“In the United States things happen very frequently, you know, it’s very sad,” Natalie Lhomme said.

A spokesperson for the mall said either someone pulled the alarm or it was triggered by smoke in the kitchen.

That same spokesperson says shopping continued at the mall.

The holiday shopping frenzy is in full swing. Either in stores or online, it’s deal day for many shoppers.

The term “Black Friday” is merely a formality these days as many people started their bargain hunting on Thanksgiving.

More than a million people are expected to do some holiday shopping on Friday.

Many stores are offering discounts of 50 percent or more. Some stores have deeply discounted limited availability items to lure shoppers in.

It’s no secret, shoppers are hoping to save money on big purchases while spending.

“We are looking for a 55-inch television, a computer, and winter clothing,” Roxane Rodgriguez said.

Rodriguez along with thousands of others went to Dolphin mall for deep discounts.

“I hope to find sweaters, cashmere, parkas, and all things winter wear,” Eddie Diaz said.

Also in Miami-Dade, at Aventura Mall, shoppers waited early Friday morning for a chance to get the deals on jewelry.

Many were lined up at Pandora.

“These things are very expensive, okay. This is a bargain and we’re going to take this bargain and run with it,” Emily Jean said.

In Broward County, Chopper 4 was overhead Sawgrass Mills as a line stretched out the door for early birds who waited for the best deals.

There were crowds at Pembroke Lakes Mall and some customers there had already made stops at other places.

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“Today we’ve gone to JC Penney’s bought stuff for the kids, cute little electronics,” Sonja Azim said.

Over at BrandsMart in Miami Gardens, one grandmother filled her cart for her grandchildren.

“The tablet, the TV,“ Grandma Bee said.

As soon as the doors opened, the isles were packed at the store.

“I like because I get to get a lot of stuff,” Alniya O’Neal said.

Researchers with Adobe Inc estimate close to $150 billion will be spent the five days around Thanksgiving.

That’s why there’s a heightened level of law enforcement present, like at Dolphin Mall.

“We have uniformed officers as well as ones that are undercover. You’ll see some of them but most of them, you won’t see which is a good thing for our shoppers,”
Sweetwater Police Spokesperson Jonathan Arche said.

This keeps people like Rodriguez safe on Black Friday.

“Great deals and keep shopping,” Rodriguez said.

At the Pembroke Lakes Mall, some shoppers arrived at 3 a.m. to be the first inside when it opened at 6 a.m.

“We left the house at 2:30 a.m. and we zipped right over here,” said Maisha Reed who waited with a group of friends.

“Today we’ve gone to JC Penney’s bought stuff for the kids, cute little electronics, we went to WalMart and a great deal on a television set,” explained Sonja Azim.

Once the doors opened, more than a dozen people filed into the mall and quickly began making purchases.

“I bought some clothes, some nice clothes from H&M, I saved twenty bucks, everything was 30 percent off,” said Noah Behr.

“I’m looking for the deals so I can buy some Christmas gifts. I just got his sister’s gift, so that’s taken care of,” said another shopper.

At Brandsmart off the Palmetto, a line of shoppers waited to enter to get doorbuster deals.

“My dad wanted a stereo, we came and got it really quick, got a great deal for it,” said Henderson Joseph. “Now we’re happy we’re about to go enjoy some more turkey.”

A study from NerdWallet shows 70-percent of Americans plan to shop alone on Black Friday.

BM, which monitors shopping, is forecasting sales will increase this year compared to last holiday season. Appliances, clothing, jewelry will be the key items to buy.

For people who don’t want to wait in the long lines, they can easily make purchases online ahead of Cyber Monday.

Researchers with Adobe Analytics found close to $3 billion was spent online from Wednesday into Thursday morning.

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Online sales nationwide are booming too. Analysts say $650 million has already been spent online, which is up from last year.

Ted Scouten