A fatal limo fire in Northern California has brought about new state legislation aimed at improving limousine safety.
The fire occurred last May. It claimed the lives of five women heading to a bridal shower. The women could not escape because the limo did not have emergency exits.
Under one bill all limos would be required to have exit features such as rear doors and pop-out windows. A separate bill would require limos to carry fire extinguishers in both the passenger and driver areas.
Lew Stone of California Professional Firefighters says the bill addresses an important safety concern.
“I think if the provisions of the legislation had been enacted, yeah I think they could have been saved. Because a limousine like that is what they call a dead end corridor. You’re trapped,” says Stone.
Stone says the proposed legislation could help prevent such tragedies from happening again in the future.
“This is another example of something that [is] a tragedy, and then the fire service, public safety officials look at it and go 'how can we keep something like this from happening again?'”
The bills currently do not have any opposition and are scheduled to be taken back up in the State Assembly when the legislature resumes.
Two of the five women killed in the fire on the San Mateo bridge last May were from Fresno. Both Neriza Fojas and Michelle Estrera were nurses at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.