FRIDLEY, Minn. — Two young girls were injured Tuesday morning, Aug. 6, when a van caught fire in a Fridley Walmart parking lot and the fire spread to another van where the children had been left unattended, police say.
The girls, ages 6 and 9, were in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Their mother was inside the store at the time of the fire, according to a press release from the Anoka County sheriff’s office.
Authorities arrested the owner of the first vehicle that caught fire, Roberto Lino Hipolito, 70, and he is being held in the Anoka County Jail on “probable cause negligent fires,” according to the press release. Police say his wife, Nema Inocencio Hipolito, was inside the vehicle when it caught fire but was able to escape.
The first fire was reported about 7:13 a.m. Tuesday outside the Walmart. About five minutes later, a report came in that the second vehicle, which contained the two children, was on fire.
The children were rescued from the vehicle and taken to Hennepin County Medical Center.
Police Lt. Jim Mork told the Star Tribune that the 6-year-old’s burns were life-threatening.