By Henni Espinosa, ABS CBN North America Bureau

May 9, 2013

Oakland, Calif – Philippine Consul General Marciano Paynor met with three of four survivors of the tragic limousine fire that
claimed the lives of 5 Filipinos on Saturday night. All of the passengers were Filipino women on their way to a bridal shower when the limo they were on burst into flames along the San Mateo bridge. Paynor met with them at the Fruitvale Healthcare Center in Oakland where eight of the women worked at one point as nurses.

“I can see the grief, seeing five of their friends pass on. But in a sense, I can also see some kind of relief and perhaps an expression of blessing that they made it,” Consul General Marciano Paynor said.

The Philippine Embassy and its consular office in San Francisco have offered to extend any possible assistance to the victims and their families, including processing of passports for those going home to the Philippines.

Paynor added that some Filipino organizations have expressed plans to raise funds for the victims.

Rodel Rodis, legal counsel for the Philippine Nurses Association of Northern California said the group is discussing ways to help their fellow nurses.

In Alameda, the grieving husband of Fyla Geronga, one of the victims who died in the fire, said Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, where his wife worked as medical technician, has also reached out to them for assistance.

“Sa katunayan, siya ang nagtrabaho ng full-time. Ako ang nag-aalaga ng mga bata. Sa ngayon, wala kaming health insurance. (My wife is the one who worked full time. I take care of the kids. Now we’re left without health insurance),” Aldrin Geronga said.

Her loved ones describe Fyla as a cheerful person who brightened up a room with her contagious laughter. More than losing their breadwinner, Aldrin said what hurt most for his family is losing the most wonderful person in their lives.

“I miss her. I wish I could see her again,” daughter Yoare tearfully said.

Aldrin said one of the survivors told him that the driver did not open the doors to help his wife and other passengers escape the fire.

He said he wanted the driver, or even the limo company, held accountable through civil and criminal suits.


The remains of Fyla Geronga and Jennifer Balon have been cremated.
A service will be held for the family and friends of Fyla on Thursday night, 5-9pm at the Greer Family Mortuary in Alameda, CA.

The service for Jennifer Balon will be held on May 13, Monday, 5 pm at the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Pleasanton, CA.

The Philippine Consulate in San Francisco is also holding a memorial service for all victims on Friday, 12 noon, at the 5th floor of the Philippine Consular Office along Sutter St. in San Francisco.

4 Comments on this post.

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  • kikayPang0
    10 May 2013 at 6:18 am - Reply

    I will design a Hybrid Bridal Limo with a built in water sprinkle …. equip to detect combustible fragrances, hair spray and over staying illegal immigrants.

  • av
    10 May 2013 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Idiot !

  • q
    10 May 2013 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    the grief stricken love ones of the 5 fatal victims deserved all the respect on their most horrific time of their lives, situations you all won’t even wished to your worst enemies.

    the survivors – husbands, children, parents of the 5 victims must seek justice criminally if founded, certainly financially, although no amount of money can bring back the 5 lives tragically loss. someone, can be one or more persons must pay for failure to thoroughly check the limo, if it was safe to drive, evidently the limo was unsafe, have turned out to be a death trap, a killing machine caused the untimely death of the 5 victims. no way will this irresponsible limo owner or owners get a pass to get away with their negligence and reckless business operation. its too bad, the criminal aspect is not proven at this point, only monetary damages are being sought, clear as water, they must pay to the max. the victims immediate relatives, like the husbands have to get good jewish lawyers with track records of all win, experts on death restitution litigations.

  • respect
    12 May 2013 at 9:48 am - Reply

    may they rest in peace.