UNION CITY -- A penny may have sparked a car fire after a child reportedly placed the coin in the vehicle's cigarette lighter as it was parked outside a mattress store in a local plaza.

No one was injured during the mid-morning incident but heat from the burning vehicle caused the store's windows to crack, police said.

Police and fire crews responded at 9:33 a.m. Monday to 3090 Courthouse Drive for a report of a car fire in the shopping plaza near the Mancini's Sleepworld, police said.

When policed arrived they found a 1999 Chevrolet Astro van ablaze.

The driver of the van and her two children made it out of the Chevy safe before officers' arrived and were not injured, police said.

The driver told officers she believed one of her children placed a penny in the cigarette lighter, which sparked and caused the fire to break out.

The extent of the van's damage was not immediately known, but police said the heat from the vehicle fire caused a few windows at Mancini's to crack.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.



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