The Limo fire that occurred this past May has not been fully understood yet. The driver and surviving passengers are telling different stories. There are some reasons how such a fire could have happened, but the investigation is still going on.
Possible links to the cause of the deaths:
- There were more people in the limo than were supposed to be, at the time of the fire.
- Limo modifications are not a high priority and the industry is poorly regulated for safety.
- The position women’s bodies led investigators to believe that they were trying to escape through the drivers partition instead of the doors.
According to the U.S. DOT:
- In 2010-5 people were killed in 3 separate stretch limo accidents.
- In 2011-21 people died in 3 separate stretch limo accidents.
For the most part there are two ways that a stretch limo will be constructed:
the original creator of the car builds the vehicle, such as Lincoln. Then the vehicle will be customized by a second company. The limo will be sold only after it has been certified that it meets the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
The limo is retrofit and not regulated by NHTSA. This happens anytime a customer purchases a limo, new or not, and then has it modified.
Problems with older vehicles:
Because a vehicle is old, does not mean that it will be a danger to use. Older model limos and cars simply need an adequate amount of maintenance. For example, if the rubber boots start to wear then it will cause the car to run hotter.
The surviving passengers believe that the driver could have helped them more than he did. One stated that he did not help them at all. The driver claims that he helped to pull the women through the small partition. When one of the freed passengers ran to open the limo door it gave the fire the oxygen that it needed to cause the flamed to completely engulf the car.
The investigation is ongoing.