Girl killed in van fire at Walmart 'stayed strong until the end'; sister remains hospitalized

Ty'rah White, 6, and her 9-year-old sister were in the van when it caught fire.
Publish date:

The 6-year-old girl who died from injuries suffered when the van she and her sister were waiting in caught fire outside a Walmart in Fridley "stayed strong until the end," her mother is quoted as saying in a GoFundMe for the family. 

Ty'rah White and her 9-year-old sister, Taraji White, were waiting for their mother who was shopping at Walmart when the van next to the one they were in caught fire and quickly spread to surrounding vehicles. 

Ty'rah suffered critical injuries and later died after being transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Taraji remains in critical condition after suffering burns and severe smoke inhalation, according to KSTP

The online fundraiser has raised about half of a $7,500 goal, as of Thursday afternoon, and it describes Ty'rah as a "lovable beautiful little girl!"

"Anybody that ever met her fell in love with her. She loved her family, her siblings Terrell and Taraji were her best friends! Her spirit was so pure, she was always full of energy!" it says. 

The fundraising campaign's story includes a moment from the morning of the fire, saying Ty'rah said to her siblings, "come on in guys, group hug." 

"My baby fought so hard and for so long she stayed strong until the end," her mother, 33-year-old Essie McKenzie, of Coon Rapids, is quoted as saying. "Ty’rah will truly be missed! Momma love you always, Babygirl!"

The cause of the fire is believed to be from a hot cookstove inside the van that first caught fire. Roberto Lino Hipolito, 70, of Long Beach, California, has been charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter and two counts of negligent fire. 

The man who was charged in connection to the fire, identified as 70-year-old Roberto Lino Hipolito, made his first appearance in court Thursday.

Hipolito is charged with manslaughter and two counts of negligently causing a fire.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Shayne Munich

Minneapolis police appeal for help finding missing man

Shayne Munich is described as a vulnerable adult.

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 6.26.50 PM

Minnesota nurse's story about her battle with COVID-19 goes viral

A month later, Ashley Walter is on a hard road to recovery.

Adam Thielen

Report: Still on COVID-19 list, Thielen not expected to play Sunday

Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday.

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.


Fridley Walmart

Girl, 6, caught in van fire outside Walmart dies from injuries

A 9-year-old is still in a critical condition.

Fridley Walmart

2 children burned after vehicles catch fire at Walmart in Fridley

The fire quickly spread from vehicle-to-vehicle around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Pit bull saves Minnesota family from destructive house fire

They were asleep in bed when their house caught fire Sunday night.

Charges: Fridley man got into back of van, killed Minneapolis teen

It's not clear what the motive for the killing was.

Landon and Spencer

Fundraiser for babies killed in house fire; arson suspected

Four children were inside the home during the blaze.

Walmart groping suspect grabbed

Anoka County detectives arrested 29-year-old Nathan William Charles Jones for what officers describe as a "brazen" sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl in a Fridley Walmart Monday.