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Bride, 4 others die in limo fire on Bay Area bridge

  • San Mateo County firefighters and California Highway Patrol personnel investigate the scene of a limousine fire on the westbound side of the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in Foster City, Calif., on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Five people died when they were trapped in the limo that caught fire as they were traveling, and four others and the driver were able to escape, according to the Oakland Tribune-Bay Area News Group. (AP Photo/Oakland Tribune-Bay Area News Group, Jane Tyska)

SAN FRANCISCO — Investigators are trying to determine why the back of a stretch limousine burst into flames on a San Francisco Bay bridge, trapping and killing five of the nine women inside on a girls' night out, including a newlywed bride.

It happened late Saturday night as the Lincoln Town Car crossed the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge on the south end of the bay.

The driver, Orville Brown, said at first he misunderstood what one of the passengers in the back was saying when she knocked on the partition between the passenger area and the driver compartment and complained about smelling smoke.

With the music up, he initially thought the woman was asking if she could smoke. Seconds later, he said the women knocked again, this time screaming, "Smoke, smoke!" and "Pull over," Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/10jcd0t ).

He helped four of the surviving women escape through the partition. One of the women ran around to the passenger door on the back side of the limo, but by then it was engulfed in flames.


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