CHP asks mourners not to place tributes at limo fire scene

Authorities on Wednesday asked mourners not to place memorial items on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge where five women died after flames consumed their limousine.

Leaving flowers or items on the bridge where the fiery tragedy occurred could create a safety hazard, the California Highway Patrol said.

"In times of emotional pain such as this, we are sensitive but we must also remain diligent in our mission of safety," CHP officials said in a statement.

PHOTOS: Fatal limo fire

The victims, four of whom were nurses, were going to a bridal party for one of the women who was in the limousine. She had recently married, friends and family members said. Four other people survived the Saturday night inferno.

On Tuesday, officials released the names of the victims. They were identified as 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, according to the San Mateo County coroner's office.

The women were originally from the Philippines, including eight nurses who were either working or had worked at the Fruitvale Healthcare Center, a nursing home in Oakland.

The tragedy left family members and friends stunned and grieving and prompted calls for stiffer regulation and oversight of firms involved in transportation services.

The incident is under investigation by the CHP and the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates transportation firms.

The CHP has said that the 1999 Lincoln Town Car was not required to carry a fire extinguisher.

State Sen Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said Tuesday that he would introduce a bill to require limousines to have fire extinguishers.


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