TOMS RIVER – A busy shopping center was buzzing with police and emergency activity as a vehicle burst into flames. Part of the incident was caught on video.
Toms River Police said Karen Varela-Nieto was driving her 2012 Jeep Compass on Route 37 east on Saturday afternoon. She noticed some black smoke coming from the rear of the vehicle so she pulled into the parking lot of the Kohl’s Department Store. Varela-Nieto and her passengers left the Jeep and immediately called 911. A short time later, the vehicle was a raging inferno.
Chief Mitch Little told Jersey Shore Online “when the officers arrived, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. Thankfully, no one was injured.”
Little added “another vehicle, a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, suffered damage from the extreme heat. It was parked about 20 feet away from the Jeep. It was still driveable.”
Toms River Fire Company Number 2 responded and extinguished the blaze. The Jeep was later towed away by a police department duty wrecker.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.