California News

May 6, 2013 5:39 PM by Associated Press

Two survivors of limo fire still critical

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Two of the survivors of the deadly fire in a stretch limousine over the weekend near San Francisco are still hospitalized in critical condition.

The limo burst into flames Saturday night on a San Francisco Bay bridge, killing five of the nine women who were in the passenger compartment. They were out celebrating the wedding of one of the women who died.

Investigators say the vehicle was only authorized to carry eight passengers or fewer. But they're not commenting on whether the overcrowding may have been a factor in the deaths.

The driver tells the San Francisco Chronicle that when one of the passengers first reported smoke, he misunderstood and thought she was asking if she could smoke. Seconds later, he says, the women knocked again, screaming about smoke and telling him to pull over.

He says he helped four of the survivors escape through the partition between the passenger and driver compartments. One of the women then ran around to the passenger door in the back, but by then it was engulfed in flames.

The five dead were found huddled near the partition, apparently unable to squeeze through.

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