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Elderly Limo Fire: 10 Women, Some Older Than 90, Escape Blaze

By Alexandra Ward   |   Monday, 10 Jun 2013 10:26 AM

A group of 10 elderly women escaped a limo fire Sunday in California, not far from where five others were killed in a similar blaze just last month.

The 10 women, a majority of them age 90 and older, were in an idling 2008 Lincoln town car about to head to a birthday party in Walnut Creek, Calif., Sunday morning when they smelled smoke and saw flames. Three of the younger passengers immediately got out and began to help the others.

"The three of us that we thought were more able-bodied, we got out first so we could help the other ladies, they were on walkers, they were on canes," Mary Chapman told ABC7News.com.

All of the limo's elderly passengers got out of the vehicle safely.

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The fire reportedly stemmed from an electrical problem related to a manufacturer defect, Claudius Oliveira, owner of the limo company TownCarSF said.

"I don't understand how it happened," passenger Elayne Lofchie, told NBC Bay Area. "I really don't. One minute everything is fine and the next minute it was chaos."

Oliveira claims the town car was up to date with its inspections and maintenance.

"I'm speechless, because this is a new car," he said. "You can see my tires, brand new tires, I keep great records of the cars."

A similar fire broke out May 4 in a limo that was transporting a bride and eight of her friends to a bridal shower in San Mateo, Calif. Five of them died in the blaze, which was reportedly caused by a mechanical failure.

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"We got out by the grace of God. I just wish that I could have done more," the driver of that limo, Orville Brown, told reporters. "It's something you never imagine will happen."

Related stories:

Friends Mourn 5 Calif Nurses Killed in Limo Fire

Deadly Limo Fire Prompts Govt Search for Vehicle Safety Defects

Father Tasered Trying to Save Baby Son From Burning House

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