A fire broke out in a shopping cart Wednesday afternoon and spread to a nearby car parked behind Staples in the Sonora Crossroads Shopping Center.

Sonora firefighters responded and quickly put out the flames, but the cause was under investigation.

Fire Chief Aimee New said a person at Staples called the department at 4:43 p.m. to report the blaze after someone came into the store saying there was a fire in the parking lot.

New said the flames spread to a white Toyota Corolla before firefighters were able to arrive on scene.

The Corolla suffered extensive damage and charring to the front end.

Sonora Police Sgt. Tim Wertz was withholding the identity of the car’s owner until they are able to locate them.

Wertz also said the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Three Sonora Elementary students who were watching firefighters mop up the mess said they provided Wertz with the description of a man they saw about an hour earlier near Walmart in the same shopping center who was pushing a shopping cart filled with cardboard and other items that they suspected was the same one that burned.

All businesses near the scene were operating as normal as police and firefighters investigated.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.