A Coon Rapids woman is suing Walmart over a 2019 fire in the parking lot of the company’s Fridley store that took the life of her 6-year-old daughter.
Essie McKenzie alleges that Walmart’s policy to allow RVs and other vehicles camp in their store parking lots led a California couple to stay overnight in August of 2019, and eventually use a hotplate that started McKenzie’s van on fire with her two children sleeping inside. The lawsuit alleges wrongful death and says by allowing people to camp with no supervision, permit requirements or sanitation, Walmart has maintained dangerous conditions on store grounds.
“These unregulated, unlicensed, and unmonitored campgrounds pose a threat of illness, injury, noise, and crime to a considerable number of members of the public,” the court documents read.
The suit seeks damages in excess of $75,000.
First responders were called to the Walmart Superstore at 8450 University Avenue in Fridley around 7:15 a.m. the morning of Aug. 6, on reports that a van had caught fire and jumped to multiple vehicles parked nearby. One of those vehicles belonged to Essie McKenzie and inside were her children, who were napping while she shopped for groceries. McKenzie said the children were tired after being awakened quite early that morning so she could take relatives to the airport.
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SOURCE: KARE 11, Dana Thiede