UPDATE 4: Woman burned in gas station car fire
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Fire investigators are trying to figure out the cause of a car fire that severely burned a woman Thursday.
Officials say 20-year-old Samantha Lawrence was taken to the hospital after her Jeep Cherokee caught fire at the Kangaroo gas station at 1005 Hixson Pike.
The incident occurred shortly after 10:00 p.m., while Lawrence and her boyfriend were putting gas in their Jeep Cherokee.
"Her dad was like a zoombie this morning," says neighbor and friend, Kelly Stackhouse. "He was just really tired with all the stress."
Stackhouse spoke with Lawrence father early Friday, "I got word this morning that Samantha was lighting a cigarette while she was pumping gas and it set her on fire."
A store cashier told firefighters that he saw fire break out at the pump next to the Jeep, so he hit the cut-off switch to the pump and called 911.
The woman's clothes caught on fire and she screamed for help. The clerk and another employee then grabbed a fire extinguisher and put the fire out.
Fire Captain Anthony Moore said she was suffering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns to approximately 30% of her body.
As bad as it is, fire spokesman Bruce Garner says it could have been worse, "while everybody else might stand around in horror of what's happening the store employees did a great job," he says. "They responded quickly and did the right thing."
Lawrence was taken to Erlanger Medical Center and later airlifted to Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia.
She is listed in critical, but stable condition.