Limo driver describes fatal fire that killed 5

May 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The limousine taking the nine women to Foster City for a bachelorette party was just minutes from its destination when the fire broke out. The driver, who escaped unharmed, described what happened to ABC7 News. He says he wishes he could have done more.

Clearly still shaken, limo driver Orville Brown says what happened on the San Mateo Bridge Saturday night was unimaginable.

"It's something that nobody expected to happen, and it's something that's hard to live with."

Until that moment, brown said the women he was taking from Alameda to a bachelorette party in Foster City were having a great time. But then one of them began pounding on the partition that separates the driver from the main compartment. Brown admits he misunderstood her at first.

"Lady knocks and she says 'smoke.' I'm thinking that she's saying she'd like to smoke because they weren't panicking."

But soon they were panicking and by the time Brown pulled over, one woman climbed through the small opening of the partition into the front seat.

"I'm not the hero, like I said, the first lady out, got two out. I helped with two. There were other people there that actually helped," Brown said.

A Good Samaritan or someone then opened the main passenger door in the back.

"When they opened the door, that let the fire get oxygen, that oxygenated the fire, it allowed oxygen to get to the fire and that fire spread so fast," Brown said.

The 46-year-old father of five says all his thoughts now are on the victims and their families.

"I reach out to the families, I really feel for them. I wish we could've done something different to save them," he said.

Brown said he is planning to donate his salary for the next two weeks to the families of the victims. He hopes others will do the same.

Brown had worked as a driver for a couple other airport limo services before this, but he had only worked for this company for two months. He said Saturday night was just the eighth time he had driven that particular car.


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