Two Kenai firefighters clean up a 1987 Volkswagen Westfallia camper van that caught fire Thursday, July 13, 2017 on the south beach in Kenai, Alaska. No one was in the van when it burnt, and there were no injuries. (Photo by Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Fire extinguishes vehicle blaze on beach

Members of the Kenai Fire Department made a trip to the beach Thursday night to extinguish a camper that had caught fire.

A crew was sent to Kenai’s south beach around 10:15 p.m. and found a 1987 Volkswagen Westfalia Camper Van “fully involved,” according to a post to the department’s Facebook page. Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker said the firefighters took a brush truck, or a pickup truck carrying a 200-gallon water tank, pumps and hoses, because it was better suited for driving on the beach.

“There’s no way we could take a fire engine down there,” he said.

Firefighters put out the blaze, and the van’s owners told them the vehicle had overheated earlier that day while temporarily stuck in the soft sand. Tucker said this could be a reason the fire started, but that the department will never know because there is not enough of the van left for them to investigate.

This is not the first time the fire department has put out vehicle fires on the beach — it’s not uncommon, Tucker said.

There were three adults and two children who had planned on camping in the destroyed van, and they were taken to a local hotel by members of the Kenai Police Department, according to the fire department’s post.

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