SAN FRANCISCO – A specialty car manufacturer is recalling the limousine model involved in a 2013 fire that killed five nurses on a San Francisco Bay Area bridge.
Accubuilt is recalling about 1,000 limousines manufactured between Jan. 2, 1998, and July 21, 2005, because a rubbing driveshaft may increase the risk of fire. It's unclear if the recall is a result of the California fire in a 1999 Lincoln Town Car limo.
A representative of the Lima, Ohio-based company did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
The California Highway Patrol said the blaze broke out on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge because of a catastrophic failure of the rear suspension system. Authorities said the air suspension failure allowed the spinning driveshaft to contact the floor pan, causing friction that ignited carpets and set the limo on fire. No charges were filed.
The fire occurred while a nurse, Neriza Fojas, was celebrating her recent wedding with a group of friends. She was among the five killed. Four other friends inside the limo and the limo driver survived.
The state Public Utilities Commission had authorized the vehicle to carry eight or fewer passengers, but it had nine on the night of the fire. The commission fined the limo operator $1,500 for having more passengers than allowed.
Aerial video of the aftermath showed the fire scorched parts of the rear of the limousine. The car's taillights and bumper were gone, and it appeared to be resting on its rims. The remainder of the vehicle didn't appear to be damaged.