A Minnesota mother has sued Walmart for their parking lot policy after a fire killed one of her daughters, and "permanently disfigured" the other, in 2019.

Essie McKenzie had arrived at the Walmart Supercenter in Fridley with her daughters sound asleep in the back of her minivan on Aug. 6, 2019.

McKenzie had dropped off her mother at the airport. Her children, aged 6 and 9, had awakened early to travel to the airport with her, but fell asleep on the way back.

Thinking they would be safe, McKenzie made the decision to let them sleep in the minivan, while she finished her shopping at Walmart, Miami Herald reported.

When she returned, the minivan was on fire around 6 a.m., according to the documents. Firefighters, who were summoned to the Walmart near University Avenue Northeast and 85th Avenue Northwest in response to a complaint of a burning car in the parking lot, then proceeded to retrieve the children.

The younger of the two, Ty'rah, was in cardiac arrest, following which she was revived in the parking lot and taken to a hospital, where she later died. Her sister, Taraji, survived, severely burned and "permanently disfigured," documents say, KSTP reported.

Law authorities discovered a couple from California, Roberto Hipolito and his wife, were passing through the state in their 2005 Dodge Caravan, which they were utilizing as a mobile, temporary residence. KSTP reported a stove they had negligently put in the caravan before it completely cooled after making breakfast had caused the fire.

McKenzie claimed in the civil lawsuit filed in federal court in June that Walmart's failure to keep an eye on overnight campers in its parking lots can lead to risky situations.

McKenzie's lawyers accused the corporation of having a practice of permitting people to effectively camp out in Walmart's parking lots overnight, while failing to keep an eye on them to guarantee the safety of other customers.

It continues by stating that Walmart's carelessness "escalated the danger to create a foreseeable danger that Hipolito would use and store a cook stove irresponsibly and thereby pose a risk to others."

Her daughter, Ty'rah's death, and the monetary and emotional harm she and her other daughter, Taraji, experienced were "direct and proximate results of (Walmart's) improper acts," McKenzie said.

A spokesperson for Walmart, Randy Hargrove, stated the business intends to refute the allegations.

"Our sympathies remain with the friends and family impacted by this tragic event three years ago," Hargrove said, "We plan to defend the company and will respond in court to the complaint as appropriate."

Shopping trolley is seen in front of Walmart logo in this illustration, July 24, 2022.
Shopping trolley is seen in front of Walmart logo in this illustration, July 24, 2022. Reuters / DADO RUVIC