Man cooking in Minnesota Walmart lot sets van on fire, killing girl

Roberto Lino Hipolito

Authorities in Minnesota say a 70-year-old man camping in a Walmart parking lot put a hot cook stove in his van, causing it to catch fire and spread to another van, burning two young sisters and killing one of them.

Posted: Aug 7, 2019 5:16 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2019 5:18 PM

FRIDLEY, Minn. (AP) — Authorities in Minnesota say a 70-year-old man camping in a Walmart parking lot put a hot cook stove in his van, causing it to catch fire and spread to another van, burning two young sisters and killing one of them.

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Roberto Lino Hipolito of Long Beach, California, with second-degree manslaughter and negligent fire.

According to the complaint, Hipolito and his wife slept overnight in their van outside a Walmart in Fridley, Minnesota. Surveillance video shows Hipolito cooking something on the stove, then putting it in the van before going into the store.

The van caught fire and spread to an adjacent van where police say two girls were alone up to an hour Tuesday morning as their mother shopped at the store.

Authorities say the 6-year-old later died of burn injuries. Her 9-year-old sister remains in critical condition.

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