Kids narrowly escape van as it goes up in flames on Lufkin Loop 287

Photo courtesy "See It, Snap It, Send It"
Photo courtesy "See It, Snap It, Send It"
Photo courtesy "See It, Snap It, Send It"
Photo courtesy "See It, Snap It, Send It"
Photo courtesy "See It, Snap It, Send It"
Photo courtesy "See It, Snap It, Send It"

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An engine problem is blamed on what caused a church van to go up in flames Thursday afternoon.

The van was traveling north on Loop 287 near the intersection of Lotus Lane around 1 p.m. when the fire occurred.  There were six children aboard who managed to escape the van safely.  By the time firefighters arrived the van, owned by First Christian Church, was fully engulfed in flames.

There are no reported injuries.

The group was returning from a field trip to Ellen Trout Zoo when the driver, Mindy Langford, smelled smoke, pulled over and sprung into action, according to Debbie Prince, Assistant Director, First Christian Church School.  The children were in grades K-5.

Lufkin Fire Battalion Chief Bobby Hobbs said it appears the fire started in the van's engine and spread to the whole van. He said it was likely either from a fuel leak or electrical problem, but an exact cause may never be determined.

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