Minnesota Mother Suing After Sleeping Children Burned Alive In Parking Lot

By Taylor Linzinmeir

August 12, 2022

Firefighter in fire fighting operation.
Photo: Getty Images

A Minnesota mother is suing a well-known grocery store chain after a parking lot fire burned her two daughters, according to KARE 11 News. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000 for allowing people to camp in their store parking lot without supervision, permit or requirements for sanitation.

In August 2019, Essie McKenzie was shopping for groceries while her two daughters waited inside her mini van in the store's parking lot. McKenzie said the children were tired after being awakened early in the morning so she could take relatives to the airport.

First responders were called to the location at about 7:15 a.m. after receiving reports a van had caught fire, and the flames had jumped to multiple vehicles that were parked nearby. One of those vehicles belonged to McKenzie. The fire originated from a hotplate in a California couple's van. They were camping out in the parking lot at the time.

McKenzie's 6-year-old daughter Ty-rah sustained injuries that later proved fatal, and her 9-year-old daughter Taraji suffered severe injuries that the lawsuit claims will leave her physically and emotionally scarred for life.

McKenzie's attorney did not respond to KARE 11 News, but the store sent a statement that read, "Our sympathies remain with the friends and family impacted by this tragic event three years ago. We plan to defend the company and will respond in Court to the Complaint as appropriate." 

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