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Northern California Limo Unexpectedly Catches Fire and Kills a Bride and Four Bridesmaids

Car on fire

Car on fire (Photo credit: jenswedin)

In the San Francisco Bay area, tragedy struck Saturday night when flames erupted in the back of a limo transporting nine women on their way to a wedding party. The cause of the fire is being investigated and is still unknown, but it did claim the lives of five of the women, including the bride.

Neriza Fojas, a recently wed nurse from Fresno, and her friends were on their way to a party at a hotel where her new husband was waiting. Though wed already in the States, Fojas and her husband were traveling to the Philippines in a month to have another ceremony in which her whole family could join.

Fojas along with four other friends could not escape the vehicle before the flames reached them.  As the limo made its way to the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, the women complained about a smell of smoke to the driver, Orville Brown. He pulled over when he could and after he exited the limo, he saw that the back of the vehicle was on fire. Though the attempts from him and passing motorists to help the passengers escape were not futile, the fire burned too quickly to ensure safe releases for all of them.

Brown is the only one who escaped without injury. Two of the four remaining passengers, Jasmine De Guia and Amalia Loyola are in critical condition and being treated for smoke inhalation and burns. The other two, Nelia Arellano and Mary Guardiano are also in the hospital, but the inhalation and burn injuries are considered moderate.

Three of the ladies managed to leave the vehicle through the rear passenger door before the fire reached them and one exited through the partition between them and the driver. It appears that the remaining women were also attempting to exit that route, but could not escape in time. Their bodies were found at the partition.

The four women who were killed with Fojas are unknown currently as their bodies are severely damaged and will require more investigation to make accurate identifications. Their remains as well as the limo are being tested for any fire accelerant or any toxics that could explain the cause and intensity of the fire.

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