SAN MATEO (CBS/AP/BCN) — A coroner investigating the deaths of five women killed in a limousine fire as they were heading to a wedding party says their badly-burned bodies were found near the partition that separates the driver from the passengers.
San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault says that suggests the women tried to use the window opening to escape the fast-moving fire that began in the back of the limo.
Four other women got out of the limousine after the driver stopped on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge Saturday night. Foucrault said passersby helped three women get out of a rear door, and a fourth woman managed to squeeze through the partition.
The driver was not injured.
Foucrault said the women were heading to a hotel to celebrate the recent wedding of a woman who died in the fire.
Rosita Guardiano, the mother of one of the survivors, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the bride was one of the people killed in the Saturday night fire on the San Mateo Hayward Bridge.
Guardiano says her daughter — 42-year-old Mary Grace Guardiano of Alameda — was in intensive care, where she’s being treated for smoke inhalation. Three other woman also suffered smoke inhalation and burns.
In addition to Ms. Guardiano, KPIX 5 has learned the identity of two other survors — Jasmine Desguia from San Jose and Amalia Loyola from San Leandro are both in critical condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
The limo was carrying nine passengers — all women — when it burst into flames around 10 p.m. Saturday. Authorities say the five women who died were trapped inside, while four others and the driver, managed to escape.
San Mateo County Supervising Deputy Coroner Michelle Rippy says autopsies are being conducted to determine the exact causes of death of the five who were not able to make it out of the burning limo.
All five were pronounced dead at the scene.
The four women who escaped were taken to area hospitals where they were being treated for smoke inhalation and burns.
The limo was going west on the bridge at about 10 p.m. when smoke began pouring out of the rear passenger area, the California Highway Patrol said Sunday. The driver managed to stop the car and he and those in the front scrambled to safety. But the fire evidently spread so quickly that the rest of the occupants were unable to get out in time.
Emergency crews extinguished the blaze before it engulfed the entire vehicle, but the rear one-third of the white, 1999 Lincoln Town Car was left a charred ruin.
The dead women were all in their 30s and 40s, the CHP said.
The women were apparently going from Alameda to Foster City. The survivors, also in their 30s and 40s, were taken to Stanford Medical Center and to Valley Medical Center in San Jose for treatment of smoke inhalation and burn injuries.
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