Just one month after a tragic episode in San Francisco in which a bride-to-be and four friends were killed in a limo fire during a bachelorette party, another limo fire took place on Sunday, outside a retirement home east of San Francisco. (Yep, both episodes occurred in the City by the Bay. So strange.) This time, 10 women celebrating a friend's 90th birthday were involved, and all thankfully survived.
The group had reportedly been celebrating their friend Elayne Lofchie's big birthday at her home and were headed to her daughter's house in Sonoma County in the Lincoln Town Car, when white smoke began coming from the partition separating the driver and passengers, explained one of the passengers, Mary Chapman. As for the driver, once he noticed that smoke was coming out from the area where the switchboard -- which runs the television, stereo, and lights -- is, everyone got out, the limo company owner said.
So horrifying. And bizarrely, just like the previous fire, the official cause is up in the air ...
Lofchie told local news station KNTV-TV:
I don't understand how it happened. I really don't. One minute everything is fine, and the next minute it was chaos.
The good news: Because the doors were still open and unlocked, the women were able to escape quickly, with the help of their caregivers. But only 15 minutes later, flames engulfed the car. Ugghhh.
Considering most of the passengers are in their 80s and 90s and some were using walkers or canes, their escape is particularly amazing. But still, their survival doesn't make this incident any less shocking and dismaying.
The latest on last month's fire, according to authorities, is that the car was "overloaded." Last week, sources said that the rear air springs failed, which caused the stretch limo to bottom out, rupturing the gas tank, which was ignited by sparks.
Hmmm ... It's obviously hard to say if something similar happened this time. At first blush, it seems like authorities are questioning the exact capacity the car allowed for. Whether that or something else led to this disturbing turn of events, officials need to figure out what happened here STAT -- or else, potentially put even more lives in danger.