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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.

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.

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