A 31-year-old registered nurse who was killed along with four friends in a limousine fire was a newlywed who was headed to a Bay Area hotel where her husband awaited her arrival, relatives reported.
Nerizo Fojas had recently married and was planning to travel to her native Philippines in June for a wedding ceremony before her own family, relatives told both the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News.
A limousine driver with LimoStop Inc. picked up Fojas and eight companions in Oakland and was going to drop them off about 40 miles away at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City, where Fojas' husband waited.
But as the white 1999 Lincoln Town Car crossed the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, the passengers noticed smoke coming from the back of the vehicle, said San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault.
They alerted the driver, who pulled over.
When the driver got out, he saw that the rear of the vehicle was engulfed in flames, Foucrault said. The fire quickly spread, trapping several of the women inside.
Three escaped through a passenger door, and a fourth climbed through a partition in front.
The other five women, including Fojas, died. “It was almost impossible for them to get out as the fire was moving so fast,” Foucrault said.
Two of the surviving passengers — Jasmin de Guia, 34, of San Jose and Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro — were taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where they were treated for smoke inhalation and burns. Both were in critical condition.
The other two passengers — Nelia Arellano, 36, of Oakland and Mary Grace Guardiano, 42, of Alameda — were taken to Stanford Medical Center. Both were also treated for burns and smoke inhalation, authorities said.
Guardiano’s mother, Rosita Guardiano, told a local television station that her daughter and Arellano were “the first to go away from the car” and were not seriously injured.
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