MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A young girl has died a day after she was critically burned in a parking lot fire outside a Walmart in Fridley Tuesday morning, according to her mother.
Police say the blaze somehow sparked from a white van around 7:15 a.m. outside the store on University Avenue. The flames quickly spread to the vehicles parked on either side, including a minivan with two young sisters inside. Their mother was shopping inside the store when the fire started.
Those two girls, ages 6 and 9, suffered burns all over their bodies and smoke inhalation. On Tuesday night, they were both listed in critical condition at Hennepin Healthcare.
It was learned Wednesday that the younger girl, Tyra, died from her injuries. Tyra’s sister is still fighting for her life.
The owner of the van that initially caught fire, a 70-year-old man, was arrested on probable cause for negligently causing a fire, which is a felony.
Fridley Police believe the man started the fire that unintentionally spread to other vehicles. There was also a woman in that vehicle, but she managed to get out without any major injuries.
Kathleen Kapps works with the mother of the two girls. She says the children were in her mother’s Universal Transit work vehicle when the fire broke out. The company transports students to school districts throughout the metro.
The man in jail has not been charged. Investigators are still looking into how the fire started.