By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
May 13, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO – Last week’s tragic limousine fire that killed five Filipino women and injured four others along San Mateo Bridge may make people think twice about riding in style.
The California Public Utilities, which regulates limousines in the state said consumers can do their part to stay safe, by making sure that the company they’re renting from is licensed by local or state regulating agencies and if it has liability insurance.
People can also ask to inspect the car and look for warning signs like faulty wiring and fluid leaks.
Latest data from the National Fire Prevention Association show that electrical and mechanical issues are the most common causes of fire, accounting for 16% of all fires in the country.
As authorities continue to investigate the real cause of the fire, the Filipino community gathered at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, in solidarity with the victims.
“We join you in grieving your untimely loss. We join you in praying for peace and comfort,” Consul General Marciano Paynor said.
Among those who attended the memorial were survivors Nelia Arellano and Mary Grace Guardiano, accompanied by their family members.
Maluvi Falucho, the sister of another survivor, Amalia Loyola, also attended. Loyola is the only survivor left in the hospital.
Emotional throughout the memorial were Derek Estrera and his son, 8-year old Dondee. Derek lost his wife, Michelle, in the tragedy.
Michelle and eight other friends were on their way to a bridal shower, when the limo they were on caught fire.
Survivors and surviving family members declined to talk to the media at this time.
Community leaders assured them that they are not alone in their sorrow.
“Being Filipinos and being nurses as well, we would like to be here and support the family,” Lyndee Hershey, spokesperson for the Philippine Nurses Association of Northern California said.
“This Filipino community, we come together in the most tragic of times and we will be with you, not just today, but whenever you need us. You can call on us and we will be there for you,” Daly City Mayor Ray Buenaventura said.
You may contact Henni Espinosa at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.