The people inside a 2012 Jeep Compass were able to safely evacuate the vehicle after dark smoke consumed the engine and it caught fire on Saturday afternoon, Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little tells WOBM News.

Little said the driver, Karen Varela-Nieto, saw dark smoke coming from her vehicle as she was traveling eastbound on Route 37.

Varela-Nieto then pulled into the parking lot of the Kohl’s Department Store where she and her passengers exited safely and promptly called 911.

When Toms River Police Officers arrived they found the Jeep fully engulfed in flames.

The Toms River Fire Company responded and extinguished the fire.

The Jeep was towed away a short time later by a police department duty wrecker.

Little said a second vehicle, a 2014 Hyundai Sante Fe, parked about 20 feet away, suffered damage from the extreme heat but was drivable.

No injuries or any other damage was reported.

The cause and exact location of the original smoke condition is not known.

New York Met's Third-Baseman Todd Frazier, who lives in Toms River, spotted smoke while out in the township this afternoon.

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