No one was injured when a parked car burst into flames yesterday at The Mall in Columbia, police and fire officials said.
Just before 1:30 p.m., smoke began to pour from a 2000 Nissan Altima that was parked outside the food court area of the mall, according to fire and police officials at the scene.
The owner of the car, Donald Gerbrick, said he parked at 1:21 p.m.
Fire investigators said the cause of the fire was under investigation but said it appeared to be accidental.
They added that that video surveillance footage shows that no one was around the car near the time of the blaze.
Gerbrick, of Columbia, said that he was upset about the destruction of his car. However, he said, he was relieved that his 19-month-old son, who was with him, was not hurt.
"Me and my son were in there six minutes before," he said. "I'm just glad it didn't catch fire on the road."
The two cars parked adjacent also were damaged.
All three car owners are mall employees, police said.