By Dawn Cranfield
Limousine Fire on San Mateo-Hayward Bridge Leaves 5 Women Dead
Nine women and the male driver of a limousine were on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge when it burst into flames, trapping five of the passengers inside. The driver and four of the travelers were able to escape the blaze, but the five inside perished in the fire.
The incident occurred at approximately 10 pm PST in the westbound lane of the bridge. The bridge connects the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay, approximately 20 miles southeast of San Francisco, and it is the longest bridge in the area.
All of the victims appeared to be in their 30s, according to authorities. Names of the deceased will not be released until their families
have been notified.
The driver of the limo escaped uninjured; however, the other four passengers are all being treated for smoke inhalation and burns. Two were taken to Valley Medical Center in San Jose and the other two have been taken to Stanford Hospital.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) said the limo driver pulled over as soon as he became aware that smoke was pouring out of the rear of the vehicle. Officers are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze.
There were reports that some good Samaritans pulled over and tried to help extricate the victims from the car, but were unsuccessful.
“‘We have no idea right now where they were going or where they were coming from,’ CHP officer Amelia Jack told KGO-TV.” (usatoday.com)
Investigators closed westbound lanes of the bridge for hours Saturday night and early Sunday as they explored the accident scene; but they have since reopened for one lane of traffic.
While it is still undetermined what the cause of this accident is; springtime conjures up images of proms and limousine services for many, it is a good chance to consider the seriousness of the incident. When booking a service, perform your due diligence and ensure
you are using a reputable company who follows the required state and federal safety regulations. When riding in any unfamiliar vehicle, consider any opportunity for escaping should the need occur.