In an interview with The Times, the San Mateo County coroner revealed gruesome details of a limousine fire that killed five women, including a bride-to-be, and injured four others.
Orville Brown, a driver with LimoStop Inc., picked up the nine women in Oakland on Saturday evening, Corner Robert Foucrault said. He was hired to drop them off about 40 miles away at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City for a bachelorette party.
The women, including the bride-to-be, were all riding in the passenger section of the limo when they noticed smoke coming from the back of the 1999 Lincoln Town Car, Foucrault said. They alerted Brown, who pulled over on the side of the San Mateo-Hayward bridge.
When Brown got out of the limo to inspect the vehicle, he noticed the rear was engulfed in flames, Foucrault said. Three of the passengers managed to escape through the rear passenger door. Another passenger squeezed through the partition that separated the driver from the passengers, he said. The bodies of the other five woman were found near the partition, he said.
“It was almost impossible for them to get out as the fire was moving so fast,” Foucrault said.
Two of the surviving passengers — Jasmine Desguia, 34, of San Jose and Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro were taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. They are being treated for smoke inhalation and burns. They are listed in critical condition.
Two other passengers -- Nelia Arellano, 36, of Oakland and Mary Guardiano, 42, of Alameda -- were taken to Stanford Medical Center. They were treated for moderate burns and smoke inhalation, authorities said. Their conditions are unknown.
Brown, 46, of San Jose, was not injured in the accident. Foucrault said he was “pretty distraught."
The names of the deceased have not been released pending proper identification.
The Foster City Fire Department’s arson division is investigating the fire. Authorities said it could take days to determine what started the blaze.