A mother and her two pre-school children escaped safely from a burning car after it caught on fire on the Inland Island Highway early Tuesday afternoon.
The southbound vehicle started vibrating and smoking about two kilometres north of the Mount Washington turn-off, said Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex.
The driver pulled over and all three occupants got out of the vehicle.
An RCMP officer who was also driving south used a fire extinguisher to try to put out the fire, without success. Firefighters extinguished it with a mix of water and foam.
Traffic was delayed while the fire department was on scene.
The vehicle was a total loss, Bardonnex said.