Funds established for families of Pinay victims in deadly limo fire

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LOS ANGELES – A fund has been set up to help support the family of the victims and the survivors of the deadly limousine fire that occurred along the San Mateo Bridge in the Bay Area on May 4.

Donations can be made to the San Mateo Bridge Angels Fund Account at any Bank of America, said officials from the Fruitvale Healthcare Center, where four of the five women who died had an association with.

“This accident claimed the lives of five current or former employees of Fruitvale Healthcare Center or members of our employees’ families. We were fortunate that four of our current or former employees survived,” a press statement said.

The coroner’s office identified the five victims as Anna Alcantara, 46 (of San Lorenzo); Jennifer Balon, 39 (of Dublin); Michelle Estrera, 35 (of Fresno); Neriza Fojas, 31 (also of Fresno); and Felomina Geronga, 43 (of Alameda).

Four other women who managed to survive the deadly blaze  (with moderate to serious injuries) have been identified as Nelia Arellano, 36, of Oakland; Jasmin “Jazzy” de Guia, 34, of San Jose; Mary Grace Guardiano, 42, of Alameda; and Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro.

Most, if not all, of the deceased and survivors are Filipino.

The driver of the limousine also escaped with no injuries.

The nine women were on their way to a hotel bridal party to celebrate Fojas’ upcoming wedding ceremony, which was slated to be in the Philippines next month when the limousine they were riding in erupted in flames.

Authorities are still trying to figure out what started the deadly fire and why the other women were not able to escape.

According to reports, the four survivors crawled through a narrow panel separating the front seat from the rest of the limousine. The five other women who died were found trying to squeeze through that opening as well.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Alcantara has an eight-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son; Balon has a 10-year-old daughter, and Geronga has a daughter in the 7th grade and a son in the 4th grade.

Fruitvale officials said they will disperse the fund “based on the needs of these individuals and their families as determined solely by a committee appointed to assist with this process.”

For more information about donating, please visit your local Bank of America. 

(LA Weekend May 11-14, 2013 Sec. A pg.1)

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