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Bridge Limo Fire: Group Headed for Bridal Shower Before Fire Took Five Lives

The dead and injured passengers in a limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge were all women in their 30s and 40s traveling from Alameda to Foster City, authorities said.

The women killed Saturday night in a limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge were traveling from Alameda to a bridal shower in Foster City, said the parents of one of the injured women.

While authorities said Sunday that the names of the five women killed in the fire would not be released until Monday or Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that among the fatalities was Neriza Fojas, the bride and a nurse at a hospital in Fresno.

A survivor, Mary Grace Guardiano, 42, was expected home Sunday afternoon after being injured and hospitalized, Rosita and Santos Guardiano of Alameda told Patch. The Guardianos were on their way to Sunday Mass, which their daughter usually attends with them, they said.

Mary Grace Guardiano is a nurse at Crown Bay Nursing and Residential Center, according to her mother. 

The Chronicle reports that the bride, Fojas, was married in the United States and planned a celebration and ceremony next month in the Philippines. An earlier comment on NBCBayArea about a wedding scheduled for June 3 has since been deleted.

At The Clubhouse Bistro, which is in the Crowne Plaza Foster City, people around the hotel were talking about the limo fire and speculating that the victims "must have been coming here because there really isn't anything else in Foster City," according to a hotel operator. The Chronicle has reported that the bride's husband was staying at the Crowne Plaza.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, which was captured by a passerby who posted an image on Twitter of the rear of the white Lincoln Town Car engulfed in flames. The Associated Press posted a one-minute video of the aftermath.

The owner of the Limo Stop, which operates the limousine that was involved, told the San Jose Mercury News that the company is cooperating with the CHP.

Officers responded to a report of a fire that broke out about 10 p.m. Saturday in in the third lane of westbound state Highway 92 at the bridge's decline, just east of Foster City, Officer Art Montiel said.

Upon noticing the fire, the driver of the limo stopped the car and got out, and was uninjured, Montiel said.

There were nine passengers in the limo, Montiel said. The four injured passengers were transported to hospitals — two to Valley Medical Center, two to Stanford Hospital and Clinics — to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns, he said.

Montiel said all the passengers in the limo were women going from Alameda to Foster City. The survivors included the driver Orville Brown, 46, of San Jose, who was uninjured; and passengers Jasmine Desguia, 34, of San Jose; Mary G. Guardiano, 42, of Alameda; Nelia Arrellano, 36, of Oakland; and Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro, the Tribune reported. The four women suffered moderate injuries.

The cause of the fire, and where it originated, was unknown, Montiel said, but the limo was the only car involved in the fire.

A Sig-alert was issued at 10:28 p.m. Saturday when the CHP closed all westbound lanes, Montiel said. All lanes were closed for about 45 minutes, he said. 

Patch editors Alex Gronke and Bea Kearnes and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Ari Soglin May 07, 2013 at 01:36 AM
We still know very little about the cause of the fire. And while it's still unclear exactly why the victims couldn't escape, we have learned that this model limousine has two passenger doors at the rear of the vehicle and none in front. We don't know whether the vehicle had any window emergency exits, and we've asked state officials whether any are required. This article explores these questions: http://alameda.patch.com/articles/experts-ponder-what-trapped-the-limo-victims. And we'll keep trying to get answers in the coming days and weeks.
Trevor Tooze May 07, 2013 at 04:25 AM
To the Patch, Why don't you leave these "big" stories to the mainstream media. Personally, I turn to Patch for local news that they don't generally want to give us. If local people were involved, then it would make some sense, otherwise it creates a sounding board.
Terry May 07, 2013 at 02:44 PM
None of the passengers were from Livermore. The driver was not from Livermore. Limo company was not from Livermore. This is not I repeat this is not a Livermore patch qualifiequalified story. The patch concept of having local news with local advertisements has been violated by this limousine story on a San Mateo Bridge.
Marga Lacabe May 07, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Steve, surprising you didn't notice that that model is long dead. It just wasn't financially viable.

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