BLAINE (AP) -- The model of van that caught fire and killed three small children has been subject to a national recall for fuel-line problems that can lead to vehicle fires.
Blaine Police Chief Dave Johnson said Wednesday that investigators were looking into whether the van, a 1994 Chevrolet Astro, was included in the October 1994 recall and whether it was serviced at that time. The recall applied to 1995 model-year vans manufactured in September 1994.
Police and the Anoka County medical examiner were still withholding the names of the three dead children, ages 4, 3 and 18 months, and a fourth child injured in the fire. Police identified the driver, who also was injured, as Heidi Marie Nelson, 37, of Blaine.
Nelson told police the van caught fire Tuesday afternoon after she experienced mechanical problems while running errands. She pulled over the van a mile from her home-based day care center and saw flames and sparks underneath.
Nelson was able to pull one child to safety after the fire erupted. But she and several people who rushed in to help were driven back by flames and unable to rescue the other three.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some Astro vans manufactured in 1994 were recalled because the fuel lines attached to the fuel tank were not properly tightened. These fuel lines can come loose, allowing fuel to leak and risking a vehicle fire.
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