Limo Burst Into Flames, Carrying New Bride & 8 Friends In California
A limousine carrying a new bride and eight of her friends over a San Francisco Bay Area bridge burst into flames, trapping and killing five of the women, including the new bride, on Saturday.
The cause of the spontaneous car fire is still being investigated, however it's been revealed that the vehicle was carrying more passengers than its license permits. "This particular vehicle was licensed to carry eight or fewer passengers. As we know, there were nine people in this vehicle," said California Highway Patrol Capt. Mike Maskarich.
The limousine driver, Orville Brown, stated that he initially misunderstood when one of the women stated that she smelled smoke while he was driving them. He had thought that she was asking him whether or not she was allowed to smoke. Seconds later, however, their cries, “Smoke, smoke!” and “Pull over” were unmistakable as they began banging on the partition that separated the driver from his passengers, Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle.
When he pulled over to the side of the San Francisco Bay Bridge and got out of the car to see what was the matter, the rear of the limo erupted in flames. He then helped four of the women out of the back through the partition window. When one of them then ran to one of the vehicle's rear doors, the flames overtook the entire back end of the car.
Firefighters eventually put out the flames, and found that the other five women had died in the fire, unable to escape through the partition.
In the ongoing investigation, law enforcement officials plan to re-interview all witnesses, including the driver of the vehicle. They don’t believe that the blaze involved criminal activity, according to San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault.
Limo Stop, the company who owned the town car and employs Brown, said in a statement, “[We] will do everything possible to investigate and assist authorities in determining the cause of this fire in order to bring forth answers and provide closure to the victims and their families.”
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