It was supposed to be one of the happiest nights for San Francisco bride-to-be Neriza Fojas, but a freak accident turned her bachelorette outing into a fiery tragedy.
Fojas and eight other passengers were headed to a party to cap off her bridal shower, when the stretch limo they were traveling in burst into flames. The driver pulled over and he and four women managed to escape. But Fojas and four others couldn’t get out the rear doors. They tried to squeeze through the small window into the driver’s compartment, but it was too late.
Seconds later, the back of the limo was engulfed and Fojas and her bridesmaids, who all worked as nurses with her, perished in the fire.
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The survivors escaped with minor injuries, burns and smoke inhalation.
“This is one of the most horrific things I’ve seen in 21 years with this office,” San Mateo County’s medical examiner, Robert Foucrault, said Sunday. “Looking at it, they were on top of each other and doing what they could to get out.”
Fojas, a 31-year-old registered nurse at the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, had been married recently in the United States. The couple was planning to travel to her native Philippines next month and hold another ceremony before her family on June 19, Bersamin said.
Limo Stop, the owner of the limo, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy last night involving the young women, five of whom lost their lives in the limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge.”
The California Highway Patrol said it was investigating the cause of the fire.
Investigators do not believe the fire was a result of a collision and will be looking into previous inspections to see if the limo had any prior issues.
Our deepest condolences to the families that lost loved ones in this tragic accident.