VIDEO: Car catches fire in Leland Walmart parking lot

Car bursts into flame while woman shops at Walmart
Published: May. 15, 2017 at 2:26 PM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2017 at 6:43 AM EDT
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Stephanie Samuels posted this picture of what remains of her car Wednesday evening. (Source:...
Stephanie Samuels posted this picture of what remains of her car Wednesday evening. (Source: Stephanie Samuels)

LELAND, NC (WECT) - Stephanie Samuels says she had just left her car to go shopping a few minutes before it caught on fire in a Walmart parking lot.

"My mom said she would sit in the car and she decided, 'Well, I'm going to get out and go in the store with you,'" Samuels said. "When we got inside of Walmart, the intercom went off and said 'Someone's car is on fire and we are going to call the fire department.'"

That decision may have saved her mother's life.

"I'm never going to get past that. You are not supposed to ask questions of why, when and what, but it makes you think about doing things different in life," Samuels said. "It makes you think about getting right with everything you need to get right with."

The fire engulfed the car in flames and burned one side of a van parked next to it.

Leland Fire and Rescue responded to the incident Wednesday afternoon. Samuels posted pictures of the aftermath later that evening.

The 2015 Jeep Compass now sits in a Wilmington wrecker lot. Samuels visited the lot Monday to see if any of her possessions inside the car are salvageable.

Walking up to the charred car, Samuels realized much of the clothes, papers and her mother's laptop couldn't be saved.

"A car can be replaced. I'm still stunned that my mom and I were in this car all day and got out within seconds of when the car blew up," Samuels said.

Samuels has replayed the images from Wednesday afternoon in her mind countless times. Rather than focus on the what-ifs of that day, Samuels is focused on one thing.

"I'm just thankful, very thankful to God that me and my mom made it out of that car," Samuels said.

Samuels has gap insurance for her car and said she's been in contact with the other car owners to discuss insurance details and to exchange information. Samuels said she feels terrible about what happened to the other vehicle.

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