Limo Fire Survivor: Driver Didn't Help Us
Authorities say limo had 1 passenger too many
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2013 10:37 PM CDT
Updated May 7, 2013 5:36 AM CDT
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(Newser) – One of the surviving passengers from the limo fire that killed five women disputes driver Orville Brown's version of events and says he could have done more to help. Gloria Arrellano says she was the first to crawl through the partition after Brown stopped the limo on the San Mateo Bridge. "When he stop the car, he get out from the car, he just get out from the car," she said. "When he get out from that car, he just opened the door, that's all he did. I even ask him, 'Help me, help me,' because I bring out my head from that compartment and say help me, so I could squeeze myself over there and slide myself," she tells ABC7.

Arrellano says that after she escaped, she ran back to the vehicle and managed to pull one more friend to safety. After that, "I tried to check if I can pull out one more, but it's already too dark and I can't see anything anymore," she says. Authorities are still investigating how the fire erupted and why the women were unable to escape out the rear doors. Brown speculates that it may have been an electrical problem, reports the San Jose Mercury News. "There are lots of things in limousines that are flammable, from the extra foam to the extra vinyl, wood paneling, all the lighting systems," he says. Officials say the limo had one more passenger than the eight it was authorized to carry, but it's too early to tell whether overcrowding was a factor, the AP notes.

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May 7, 2013 9:54 PM CDT
The fear of fire is instinctual. Seeing and feeling the heat of flames provokes a flight response in all animals. Not everyone would be able to overcome this natural fear and judging someone for not approaching an inferno is ignorant. Most people who do have never themselves faced such a situation so it is easy for them to sit in their comfy chair at home and pass judgement.
May 7, 2013 1:50 PM CDT
once we would rebuild each others barns . now opening a car door in a fire is too much to ask . a lot of our problems are square on the back of government but not his one . we just dont give a shit anymore , i cant imagine a worse way to die or what the screams must have been. but to get out and just watch . do nothing well sir i guess you win in the race to the bottom congratulations . I hope those unanswered cries ring in your ears for years to come , you dont have to be a hero to help ......just a human.
May 7, 2013 9:41 AM CDT
I've had (small) moments of heroism and moments of cowardice in my life. And if I worked a dead-end job where I knew that my employers skimped on services and maintenance, I'd be pretty clear of that gas tank too. Especially if I had a family to provide for. If the fire was creeping and small, I'd do what I could to keep others safe. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to die in a goddamn fire, thank you. I'd possibly risk drowning cause I'm used to water, but fire elicits a primal and instantaneous reaction.