COLUMBIA — No one was injured when a vehicle caught fire at about noon Thursday in the parking lot across from Fashion Bug on Conley Road.
After receiving a call from a man outside the store, the Columbia Police Department and the Columbia Fire Department arrived at 27 Conley Road within 10 minutes and controlled the fire within an additional 10 minutes, according to assistant manager of Fashion Bug, Teresa Wieberg.
Priscilla Southerland, 36, her son, Tyler Tovar, 2, and Steven Zick, 46, were inside the store when their vehicle — a 2000 Chevrolet Venture — caught fire.
Southerland, Tyler and Zick had been in the store for about an hour before the car caught fire.
Wieberg, immediately locked the front doors and made all of the customers move to the back of the store when the car caught fire.
Southerland said she lost her overnight bag, medicine and Tyler's toys in the fire.
Columbia police officer Roger Schlude was on the scene along with a fire marshal and additional firefighters from the Columbia Fire Department.
Officials said cause of the fire was unknown at this time.
Southerland test drove the van Wednesday in Hamilton, Ill. During the test drive, she noticed the fuel tank was close to empty. After purchasing $5 worth of gas, however, Southerland said the fuel tank read "full." Even though she found this suspicious, she purchased the van anyway.
Before driving to Columbia on Wednesday night to visit her son, she took the van to her insurance company.
Supervising editor is Alison Matas.