3 safe after van catches fire

Courtesy photo by ROBIN AKAU

A van is engulfed in flames after catching fire Wednesday afternoon off Mamalahoa Highway in South Kona. Police and fire rescue personnel responded to the scene at about 1:40 p.m. Fire Capt. Randy Masutomi said a mother and her two children were in the van driving in the northbound lane when the mother smelled smoke. Masutomi said she immediately pulled over and then noticed fire. A Hawaii Police Department officer who happened to be in the area helped remove the children, Masutomi said. None of vehicle’s three occupants required hospitalization and the fire was subsequently extinguished.