Fire officials on Friday identified the victim of a Laguna Beach car fire as Barbara Ann Auerbach, 65, of 272 High Drive. Auerbach remained in critical condition late Friday at the burn unit of UCI Medical Center in Orange, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Private investigators specializing in car fires have joined Laguna Beach fire officials in trying to determine the cause of the blaze inside the automobile, said Battalion Chief Rich Dewberry.
"It's going to be an extensive investigation" to determine the cause of the fire, the chief said, "if we ever find out."
Auerbach, who Dewberry described as being "of very slight build," was found Thursday afternoon, buckled in a seated position in the passenger side of the vehicle. The car was parked with the engine shut off in the Boat Canyon shopping center at 600 North Coast Highway while the driver, who was not identified, was inside a food market. Customers at the center noticed smoke inside the car, which they believed to be unoccupied, and telephoned the Fire Department.