Filipino bride, friends died trying to escape burning limo—coroner
SAN FRANCISCO—A bride and four friends died desperately trying to scamble out of a rented limousine which burst into flames en route to a party in California celebrating her wedding, a coroner said Monday.
The victims’ bodies were found up against the partition between the back of the limo and the driver’s compartment of the vehicle, which caught fire on Saturday night while driving across a bridge near San Francisco.
The limo driver and four women managed to escape the burning vehicle, but the bride, reportedly from the Philippines, and four members of her bridal shower perished in the blaze, according to news reports, which said all the women were nurses.
“They were found forward of the limousine in between the partition, the passenger compartment and the driver’s compartment,” said San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault.
“When we got there … they were up against the partition,” he told reporters, giving more details on the tragedy.
He added: “They were getting away from the fire and that’s why they were in the front, towards the partition, and you could also probably say that they were trying to get out.”
“This is one of the most horrific things I’ve seen in 21 years with this office,” Foucrault was quoted as having said Sunday by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The newspaper reported that the woman for whom the bridal shower was thrown had recently married and had planned to return to her native Philippines for another ceremony next month.
But for unknown reasons, the party-bound vehicle—which was en route to a wedding shower in nearby Foster City—burst into flames on the San Mateo Bridge, just south of San Francisco.
The dead women, all in their 30s and 40s, included newlywed Neriza Fojas, 31, of Fresno, according to the Chronicle, which quoted the deceased woman’s sister.
The driver, named as Orville Brown, said that he pulled over a couple of hundred yards from the end of the bridge when one of the women alerted him to the smell of smoke, the newspaper said.
He helped some of the survivors to safety but was unable to save the women in the back. “We got out by the grace of God. I just wish that I could have done more,” the newspaper cited him as saying.
“It’s something you never imagine will happen.”
The coroner declined to report on press reports that the victims included nurses.
“We are working to determine a cause and manner of death, and part of our investigation will determine employment. That has not been determined at this point,” he said.
Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94