Rear Suspension Failure Caused Fatal Limo Fire

Posted on August 19, 2013

UPDATE (4:10pm PST)

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge that killed five women en route to a wedding party, including the bride, was an unforeseeable accident caused by the failure of an air suspension system in the rear of the vehicle, authorities said Monday.

When the system failed, the limo's floorboard scraped against the drive shaft, creating friction and heat that ignited the blaze, California Highway Patrol Capt. Mike Maskarich said at a news conference with other officials to announce the findings of a multi-agency investigation into the May 4 tragedy.

Full story at SFGate.com.

(8/19/13 — 2:30pm PST)

Faulty Rear Suspension System Led To Fatal Limo Fire

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — A mechanical problem is to blame for igniting a limousine fire that killed five nurses who were trapped in the back, the California Highway Patrol said Monday.

CHP Captain Mike Maskarich says the blaze broke out on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge on May 4 because of a catastrophic failure of the rear suspension system. The suspension fell onto the floor pan causing friction that ignited carpets and set the vehicle on fire, authorities said.

Associated Press article at SFGate.com here

CBS San Francisco article here

Related Topics: California operators, law enforcement, limousine fires, passenger safety, regulatory enforcement, San Francisco operators

Comments ( 14 )
  • Mr LImo

     | about 7 years ago

    Its possible that the drive shaft did rub and possibly caused the fire. "Tragic" but honestly speaking I have been in the limo business 20+ years and have had everything break as you could imagine and the number #1 thing I believe caused the fire is the axle bearing!!! I have had them leak and immediately had the axle and bearing and seal repaired. I have had my friends in the limo business have there axle grease leaking out the side so hot that every time it dripped on the ground it caught fire. He poured soda on the fire to put it out every time it dripped on the pavement, True story! I'm sorry but I believe the rear passenger side axle bearing is what caused the fire. There really is no other explanation to it. If you watch the video of the fire you can see the flames coming out the passenger rear wheel area. PLEASE every limo operator out there check your wheel bearings especially in the back of your Lincoln super stretch limos!! I check mine every 6 months by jacking up the limo in the rear and grabbing wheel and seeing how much up and down movement "play" I have in the axle to bearing. You should have very little if any. If it really seems like it moves up and down more then a 1/8 inch Change the axle and bearing!!! Another operator I know lost a wheel on the hi way with the break assembly attached because the axle snapped in half because the bearing seized up.

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