(KGW) A Portland, Oregon family is devastated after losing their minivan in a fire.

What's worse, they say a fire extinguisher was at their fingertips, but they weren't allowed to use it.

It started with a spark from the phone charger.

"I panicked, the car started to fill up with smoke," says Michelle Cuellar.

Cuellar says she and her family pulled into a Shell Station and asked for a fire extinguisher.

"She stated while she's on the phone with 911 that 'My boss said we cannot give you a fire extinguisher, that's our policy' and I said 'You've got to be kidding me!'," Cuellar recalls.

As minutes passed, smoke turned to flames. The van was gone.

The Shell Station was contacted but the didn't have a comment on what happened.

Tualitain Valley Fire and Rescue responded to the call.

They say they encourage people to help during an emergency, but it's not required.

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