Limo destroyed by fire in Vallejo

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Once again in the Bay Area a limo has gone up in flames. Unlike the last time when five people were killed, this time, thankfully, no one was hurt. Still, it was certainly a frightening few minutes for the driver.

Along Fairgrounds Drive in Vallejo a limo was completely gutted Friday morning. The driver said his limo was booked for a party to Napa Valley on Thursday. He was taking the vehicle out to clean it up and he said he's oddly relieved it burned up on Friday and not the following day.

"It was just overheating and I pulled over," Limo owner and driver James Callan said. He told ABC7 News he thought his engine was just overheating and before he knew it, his Chrysler 300 stretch limo was a raging inferno.

"And it just... it was like a poof of flame in the back of the engine and I grabbed the fire extinguisher, I tried to put it out but it just went so fast," Callan said.

Just minutes later, when firefighters arrived, the 10-person car was completely engulfed.

This fire comes 14 months after a limo burst into flames on the San Mateo Bridge, killing five nurses who couldn't escape in time.

One month later, 10 older women on their way to a birthday party did get out in time, after an idling stretch limousine burned up in Walnut Creek's Rossmoor neighborhood.

Vallejo fire Capt. Morty Culverwell says limos can be fire traps, because there are so few exit points and they tend to packed with highly combustible materials. Culverwell explained, "It's wiring, there's a lot of batteries, there's a lot of electronics in those limos, the carpets, the seats, the material in the seats."

As shaken as Callan was, he told us he's well aware this could've been much worse. He said, "Ah, my God...thank God nobody was in my car. I actually just came from the car wash because I was cleaning it up for a job tomorrow."

After last year's incidents, a bill was introduced in Sacramento that would greatly enhance safety and inspection requirements for limousines.
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