A newlywed bride was tragically killed after being trapped in a limo that caught fire in San Francisco late Saturday evening. According to police, the bride and several female companions were traveling across the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge when a fire of unknown origin engulfed the vehicle.
The limo driver, 46-year-old Orville Brown, managed to escape the fire unharmed. With the help of nearby motorists, he was able to assist four of the passengers to safety. The bride, identified as 31-year-old Neriza Fojas, and four of her friends were unable to escape and perished as flames rapidly overtook the back of the stretch limo.
According to police, the women were spending a night on the town to celebrate Fojas’ recent nuptials. The group was headed to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City to join the the bride’s husband when the night took a horrific turn.
Crossing the bridge around 10 pm, one of the women alerted the driver to smoke inside the passenger compartment. Brown quickly pulled over and stepped out to find flames spreading across the rear portion of the limo.
The driver and several passerby were able to pull three of the passengers out of the car. A fourth companion managed to escape by squeezing through a partition into the front of the limo.
Meanwhile, the bride and four other women became trapped in the growing flames. Although firefighters quickly arrived on scene to douse the blaze, the women had already succumbed to the limo fire.
Their bodies were found huddled together near the partition where they had apparently been killed while trying to escape. “My guess would be they were trying to get away from the fire and use that window opening as an escape route,” confirmed San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault.
At this time, the cause of the fatal limo fire is unknown. According to witnesses, the blaze was not caused by any type of collision. The California Highway Patrol is currently investigating the matter and plans to research previous inspections of the limo to determine if any prior problems were identified.
Limo Stop, the owner of the vehicle, released an official statement expressing their condolences: “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy last night involving the young women, five of whom lost their lives in the limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge.”
The driver also expressed sorrow following the terrible event. “We got out by the grace of God. I just wish that I could have done more,” Brown explained. “It’s something you never imagine will happen.”
The names of the bride’s four companions killed in the limo fire have not yet been released to the public. According to authorities, the passengers who survived are currently receiving medical treatment for burns and smoke inhalation at local hospitals.
[Top image via Shutterstock]