Cause of deadly limo fire still unknown

It could take weeks to figure out why a white stretch limousine caught fire over the weekend, turning a celebratory bachelorette party deadly, authorities said Monday.

Nine passengers were traveling in the Lincoln as it headed across the San Francisco Bay along the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge on Saturday night. Only four came out alive.

The bride-to-be, 31-year-old Neriza Fojas, was among the dead.

The vehicle is listed with California’s Public Utility Commission as legally carrying eight passengers or fewer, so it was in violation, Mike Maskarich, commander of the California Highway Patrol in Redwood City, said Monday.

Four women and bride-to-be die in California limo fireThe driver, who escaped uninjured, had the proper license, Maskarich said.

That driver, Ricky Brown, told CNN the limousine showed no sign of problems before it caught fire.

“The flames were gigantic,” said Roxanne Guzman, who was in a car crossing the bridge about 10 p.m. Saturday. “The flames were so big and radiating so much heat that I could feel the heat off of my face, and I was in my car the entire time.”

Maskarich said a passenger in the limo alerted the driver that there was smoke in the passenger compartment. The driver pulled over, and “the vehicle quickly became engulfed in flames,” Maskarich said.

The four passengers who got out suffered smoke inhalation and burn injuries.

One patient remained in critical condition Monday at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, while another was in serious condition. The conditions of the other two survivors were not immediately known.

The women who died were found in the car, pressed against the partition between the passenger compartment and the driver’s area, authorities said.

Fire officials said a crew responded quickly, but it was too late to save them.

“Looking at the photos, it appears it started in the trunk,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Ron Simmons said Sunday. “But at this time, we don’t know officially if the fire started inside the vehicle or on the exterior.”

Lovela Nicolas, the sister-in-law of Fojas’ sister, said Fojas was a registered nurse.

“Neriza was getting married, going to the Philippines to get married there and have a ceremony there and the reception,” Nicolas told CNN from her home in Honolulu.

The mother of one of the surviving women told CNN affiliate KTVU that her daughter, Mary Guardiano, was upset but physically OK.

“She’s very sad. She is crying,” said Rosita Guardiano.

In a written statement, the limousine company said it was “deeply saddened” by the deaths.

“LimoStop Inc. will do everything possible to investigate and assist authorities in determining the cause of this fire in order to help bring forth answers and provide closure to the victims and their families,” it said.

Medical examiners may need up to two days to positively identify the remains, San Mateo County Deputy Coroner Roger Fielding said.
The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-WIRE(9473)

 

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

3 comments

  • John

    Before the idiots figure it out the fire was caused by the video entertainment electronics under the passenger seat. This has happened many times in the past even is parked stretched limos.
    Yet no state has issued any warnings they are all on dope.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 628 other followers