5 women die when limo bursts into flames on Bay Area bridge

A limousine on the San Mateo Bridge burst into fire Saturday night, killing 5 women and injuring four others.
A limousine on the San Mateo Bridge burst into fire Saturday night, killing 5 women and injuring four others.
Photo by Harvey K via Flickr Creative Commons

Update 2:07 p.m.: The mother of one of the survivors of a limousine fire that killed five women when it burst into flames as it traveled over a busy San Francisco Bay bridge says the women were heading to a bachelorette party.

Rosita Guardiano tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the bride-to-be was one of the people killed in the Saturday night fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. She says the woman was to be married next month.

The limo was carrying nine women when it caught on fire at around 10 p.m. Saturday. Authorities say the five women who died were trapped inside. The driver was the only person who escaped unhurt.

Guardiano says her daughter — 42-year-old Mary Grace Guardiano of Alameda — is in intensive care, where she's being treated for smoke inhalation. Three other woman also suffered smoke inhalation and burns.

Update 9:33 a.m.: A limousine traveling on a major bridge in the San Francisco area burst into flames, killing five female passengers who were trapped inside and injuring four others who escaped, authorities said Sunday.

The limo was carrying nine female passengers and a male driver when it caught fire late Saturday on the San Mateo Bridge, California Highway Patrol officer Art Montiel told The Associated Press.

Five occupants became trapped, while four others suffered injuries but managed to get out after the vehicle came to a stop on the bridge, the patrol said. The driver escaped uninjured.

Montiel said that the victims were all in their 30s. Authorities said the names of the dead would be released once families have been notified.

The blaze occurred around 10 p.m. on westbound lanes of the bridge, which connects San Mateo and Alameda counties, about 20 miles southeast of San Francisco.

The patrol said that smoke started coming out of the rear of the limo, and the driver pulled over as the vehicle quickly became engulfed in flames. Officers were trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which wasn't the result of an accident.

"We have no idea right now where they were going or where they were coming from," CHP officer Amelia Jack told KGO-TV.

Two of the women who escaped were taken to Stanford Hospital and the two others were taken to Valley Medical Center in San Jose. All four are being treated for smoke inhalation and burns.

The westbound lanes of the bridge were closed as officers investigated the cause of the deadly fire, but the patrol said one lane of traffic reopened early Sunday.