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Tragedy in San Mateo Leads to Questions About Automobile Safety

| May 7, 2013 | Automobile Defects

On May 4, 2013, a devastating limousine fire that occurred on the San Mateo Bridge killed five women including recent bride Nriza Fojas and seriously injured five of her close friends. All of the women were nurses.  The limousine was a 1999 Lincoln Town Car operated by Limo Stop Inc and drive by commercially licensed driver Orville Brown.

According to the survivors, they smelled smoke in the rear of the limo and asked the driver to pull over when the vehicle was engulfed in flames.  Only five of the women were able to get out as the rest tragically perished.

Countless accidents throughout this nation occur daily with high impacts without fiery explosions.  Although this type of accident is common in movies, they are rare in real life where most car fires are the result of bad maintenance or a design flaw.  In examining cause and origin of a fire several factors are considered, including any leaks in the fuel system, problems with wiring such as loose or cracked wiring, electrical or mechanical failure, and short circuits.  The majority of car fires originate in the engine compartment.

Electrical fires usually begin in or around the dashboard.  “Fuel-fed” fires, on the other hand, often begin under a vehicle or on the street surface below and spread quickly as leaking gasoline ignites.  Both electrical and “fuel-fed” fires are often caused by defective design choices in the automobile or truck at issue.  To help determine cause and origin, you need to understand the makeup of the materials, their flash points, ignition temperatures, melting points, and maintenance history of the vehicle and carefully inspect the fuel and electrical related systems.  In the case of the tragedy in the San Mateo bridge, consideration also must be given to those aspects of the vehicle design that recognize fire can occur and are supposed to allow people to escape from a fire (e.g. the locking system, windows, etc.).

Our office has represented a number of families who have been in involved in accidents with car fires and we have developed procedures for investigation and actions against

We are currently representing families against Ford and Toyota in two fuel fed incidents.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, our attorneys at the Brandi Law Firm are available to consult with you.  Please contact our office at 800-481-1615 or email us.