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Coroner IDs five killed in limo fire

Four of the women who died Saturday on a Bay Area bridge were nurses.

May 08, 2013|Lee Romney

OAKLAND — The San Mateo County coroner's office Tuesday released the names of five women killed on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge when their limousine became engulfed in flames.

They are: Neriza Fojas, 31, and Michelle Estrera, 35, of Fresno; Jennifer Balon, 39, of Dublin, Calif.; Anna Alcantara, 46, of San Lorenzo, Calif.; and Felomina Geronga, 43, of Alameda. Four others survived.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, May 09, 2013 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Limousine fire: In the May 8 LATExtra section, an article about a fatal limousine fire in the Bay Area misspelled the first name of Resty Padojino, brother-in-law of victim Anna Alcantara, as Rusty.

Other than Geronga, the close-knit Filipina friends were all nurses who had met while working at Oakland's Fruitvale Healthcare Center, bonding like "sisters," one survivor told a local television station.

The Saturday night inferno trapped them as they headed for a hotel bridal party for Fojas, who had recently married but was planning to return to her native Philippines next month for a second ceremony.

Balon leaves a 10-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, her husband, John, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Balon said that survivor Nelia Arellano had told him the rear passenger doors in the limousine were locked, forcing the women to attempt to escape through the partition window behind the driver's seat.

The five who died were found in a heap near the window, San Mateo County Coroner Robert J. Foucrault said.

A spokesman for the state Public Utilities Commission, which regulates limousines, said they are not required to carry fire extinguishers.

Alcantara leaves a 14-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, her brother-in-law, Rusty Padojino, told the Chronicle.

"We can only speculate about the condition she was in," he said. "That's the hardest thing for us right now -- how she suffered. We can't understand."

--

lee.romney@latimes.com

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