Limousine in deadly fire not required to have extinguishers

A limousine that erupted in flames on a Bay Area bridge, killing five women, was not required to have fire extinguishers on board, said an official with the state commission that oversees the limo company’s licensing.

A spokesman for the state Public Utilities Commission, which regulates limousines, said the 1999 Lincoln Town Car was not out of compliance by not having fire extinguishers on hand Saturday when it caught fire on the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge.

Five women died in the flames; four other women in the party and the driver escaped.

The San Mateo County coroner's office Tuesday released the names of the victims:

Neriza Fojas,31, and Michelle Estrera, 35, of Fresno; Jennifer Balon, 39, of Dublin; Anna Alcantara, 46, of San Lorenzo; and Felomina Geronga, 43, of Alameda.

Other than Geronga, the close-knit Filipina friends were all nurses who had met while working at Oakland's Fruitvale Healthcare Center, bonding like "sisters," one survivor told a local television station.

The Saturday night inferno trapped them as they headed for a hotel bridal party for Fojas,who had recently married but was planning to return to her native Philippines next month for a second ceremony.

Balon leaves a 10-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, her husband, John, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Balon said survivor Nelia Arellano had told him the rear passenger doors in the limousine were locked, forcing the women to attempt to escape through the partition window behind the driver's seat.

The five who died were found in a heap near the window, San Mateo County Coroner Robert J. Foucrault said.

Alcantara leaves a 14-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, her brother-in-law, Resty Padojino, told the Chronicle.

"We can only speculate about the condition she was in," he said. "That's the hardest thing for us right now -- how she suffered. We can't understand."


Probe set for LAPD response to party near USC

Fire survivor says limousine driver did 'not want to listen'

Springs fire expected to be fully controlled by Tuesday afternoon

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World