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Elderly Women Escape Burning Limo
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the limo burned as the elderly women escaped

Ten elderly women narrowly avoided tragedy when they were able to escape from a burning limousine on Sunday morning. The women, who were en route to Sonoma to celebrate one of the women’s 90th birthday, all escaped without injury.

The group convened to celebrate the 90th birthday of Elaine Lofchie by renting a limousine and driving from Walnut Creek, California, to Lofchie’s daughter’s house in Sonoma. Among the women who were riding in the limo was Lofchie, several of her elderly friends (many of whom are in their 90s, and three caregivers.

  
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After the ladies loaded into the modified 2009 Lincoln Towncar, the engine caught fire while it was still idling on the curb.

“There was smoke and the ladies were coming out of the back of the car, and I was telling them ‘Hurry up, hurry up,’” said Georgette Vianni, one of the caregivers, speaking to KTVU. “I helped one lady out because she uses a walker.”

Authorities were called to the gated community in Walnut Creek where the limo caught fire at 11:35 AM.  Vianni and the other caregivers helped the elderly women, many of whom relied on canes and walkers, out of the limo as it filled with smoke.

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The limousine was completely scorched, despite the best efforts of fire-fighters, taking with it gifts and cards that Lofchie’s friends had brought for her.

Vianni said that the limo driver was “wonderful” in the situation, quickly alerting the passengers to the fire, and helped the women exit the car. The driver speculated that the fire started with the car’s electrical system.



The women’s narrow escape from the limo fire comes a month after another Bay Area limo fire took the lives of five women.  On May 4, a limo crossing the San Mateo Bridge caught fire, and while the driver and four passengers were able to escape, five other passengers were trapped and killed in the burning care.

The California Highway Patrol is currently working with the Walnut Creek Police in an investigation of Sunday’s less-deadly incident. Lofchie, however, is just grateful that she survived.

“It was a memorable birthday,” she said. “Bad enough that it was my 90th birthday and now I have all this business to remember. No more, no more limo for me, ever.”



 

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