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Limo Catches Fire on San Mateo Bridge, Five Killed

A stretch limo carrying 10 passengers caught fire on the bridge—killing five victims and sending four others to hospitals.

Horrific doesn’t begin to explain what happened on the San Mateo Bridge Saturday night.

A stretch limo carrying 10 passengers caught fire, killing five people and injuring four others. The injured were rushed to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto and Valley Medical Center in San Jose, according to CHP Officer Amelia Jack.

Jack said that one of the injured has serious burns while the other three suffered smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

All westbound lanes were closed for more than an hour after the fire.

The first call reached the CHP at 10:09 p.m. followed by a flurry of calls reporting the passenger section of the limo engulfed in flames. The bridge reopened to traffic just before 1 a.m.

Initial media reports indicated that teens attending prom were in the vehicle, but the CHP later reported that the limo’s occupants were all women in their 30s who were traveling from Alameda to Foster City.

No identities have been released.

Philco May 05, 2013 at 06:06 PM
I agree; this is clearly a faulty design and the vehicle is designed to hold a relatively large number of passengers with inadequate escape routes - a fire extinguisher is insufficient when the fire ignites outside the passenger compartment. Lincoln is going to have a large lawsuit on its hands, and I think we can expect to see dramatic industry improvements in passenger escape design (which is long, long overdue).
KAC May 05, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Some people are suggesting the fire could have disabled the electronic door locks, but I haven't seen a vehicle that didn't also have manual door handles, but maybe I'm wrong. Looks like the fire was in the rear, which is where the fuel tank is located. But what caused it? Something electrical and a leak in the fuel tank? Biggest question I have is why these poor women couldn't get the hell out of a burning vehicle that was not even involved in an accident. Maybe it was the door locks. I wouldn't want to be the owner of that limo company right now.
Steve Hayes May 05, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Some (if not many) limos have child locks on the rear doors to prevent customers from jumping out in traffic. I wonder if the driver bailed out before remembering to unlock the doors.
Tess May 06, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Very sad and strange accident. Hope the survivors and families of the deceased get help coping with this. What a horrific way to breath your last.. Prayers for all involved.
Athena May 06, 2013 at 03:38 AM
People stopped to snap pix with cell phone, but no one bothered to help the trapped? And survivors never though of busting windows in???? Driver is a coward!

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