The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 6, 2013

Bride, 4 others die in limo fire on Calif. bridge

(Continued)

"She was a hard worker, a loving sister," a sobbing Bersamin said.

Aerial video shot after the fire showed about one-third of the back half of the limousine had been scorched. Its taillights and bumper were gone and it appeared to be resting on its rims, but the remainder of the vehicle didn't appear to be damaged.

A photo taken by a witness and broadcast on KTVU-TV showed flames shooting from the back of the limo.

Brown's brother told the Chronicle the flames spread before he could help all the women escape.

"He told me, 'Man, it was so fast.' He said, 'I've never seen anything like it in my life.'"

"He kept saying, 'I should have done more, I should have done more," he added.

The brother said that Brown is an experienced commercial driver who has operated big rigs and moving trucks and has a clean record.

Medical examiners will identify the victims by using dental records. Foucrault said the autopsies will include toxicology tests, as well as examinations into whether any accelerant such as alcohol or gasoline was found on the bodies.

The CHP said the four other women who escaped the fire were being treated at nearby hospitals for burns and smoke inhalation: Mary G. Guardiano, 42, of Alameda; Jasmine Desguia, 34, of San Jose; Nelia Arrellano, 36, of Oakland; and Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro.

Desguia and Loyola were listed in critical condition, said Joy Alexiou, a spokeswoman for Valley Medical Center. The condition of Arrellano, who was taken to another hospital, was not known.

A spokeswoman for Community Medical Center in Fresno said one or more of its employees were in the limo.

The company that operated the limo was identified as Limo Stop, which offers service through limousines, vans and SUVS.

The company issued a statement saying it "will do everything possible to investigate and assist authorities in determining the cause of this fire in order to bring forth answers and provide closure to (the) victims and their families."

According to records from the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates limousine companies, Limo Stop is licensed and insured.

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