Deadly Limo Fire Broke Out Minutes From Destination
Driver initially thought women were asking if they could smoke
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2013 7:57 AM CDT
The burned limo.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – When a passenger first knocked on the limo partition to let driver Orville Brown know that she smelled smoke, Brown thought she was asking if she and the passengers, a bride and her friends, could smoke cigarettes. "They had the music up in the back," he tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "I said, 'The owner doesn't allow smoking in the car, and we only have four minutes to the destination.'" But seconds later, she was knocking again, and all nine women were yelling "Smoke!" and begging Brown to pull over. He did so, no more than a minute after she first knocked, he says. But by then "there was a lot of smoke. It was coming through so fast," Brown says of the accident that ultimately killed the bride and four other women.

Brown hurried out of the car, followed by one of the women, who climbed through the partition and ran around to open the back passenger door. "When she opened that back door, I knew it wasn't a good scene. I figured with all that fire that they were gone, man," Brown says of the five who weren't able to crawl through the partition. "There were just so many flames. Within maybe 90 seconds, the car was fully engulfed." (Previous articles said the women were unable to get out the back doors; they were found huddled on top of each other near the partition.) "Man, they were having so much fun," Brown says. "Beautiful women just wanting to go to a party." The bride's husband was apparently waiting for her at the hotel they were headed to.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
mind_riot
May 6, 2013 12:12 PM CDT
the driver sounds like a idiot , can you imagine the f-ing screaming that was going on back there what a f-stick . your burning to death and hes saying no smoking in the car mam company policy . something is up our education system could not have fallen so far.
Gart
May 6, 2013 10:30 AM CDT
How were they unable to get out of the doors? There were at least two doors in the back...
Luna_Park
May 6, 2013 10:19 AM CDT
Aren't limos supposed to be outfitted with fire extinguishers in the driver's and passenger compartments? Isn't there some kind of safety code that specifies this? I have a feeling this driver was negligent. Somehow he doesn't sound very heroic at all. His explanations sound like he's covering his you-know-what. Well, I'll bet some new laws governing limousine operation and safety are going to get written up as a result of this tragedy.