Portable heater likely cause of car fire in Walmart lot that killed 5-year-old girl, police say

Police say a portable heater is believed to have caused a fire that engulfed a car in a Walmart parking lot in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday, killing a 5-year-old girl and leaving two others hospitalized.

The child hasn't been identified as the Ada County coroner was awaiting further DNA analysis, the Idaho Statesman reported. 

The injured were a woman and a toddler, both of whom were treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, according to a police report. They were reportedly asleep in the car when the fire broke out just after 3:30 a.m. 

“When first responders arrived, the vehicle was fully engulfed and members of the Boise Fire Department put out the fire,” Boise police said. 

The four-door passenger car was charred and almost completely blackened, KTVB-TV reported. Store employees told the station that the parking lot was popular among the homeless or travelers to park overnight and sleep. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was assisting police in the investigation.

Meanwhile, the coroner's officer was processing the scorched car.

“This is a tragic situation and one that pains all of us to respond to and even hear about,” said Capt. Ron Winegar. “Our hearts go out to the family who lost a child today.”