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Hawaii limo companies react to California fire

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: May 06 2013 06:35:03 PM HST
Updated On: May 06 2013 08:55:31 PM HST

It's prom season, it's wedding season, and that means limos are in high demand. But it'll be tough for anyone to climb into a limo without thinking about the limo fire in California that killed a bride and four of her friends.

HONOLULU -

The images of a California limo bursting into flames are haunting.

The nine women inside were on their way to a bridal shower.  Five died, four others were injured.

Until investigators pin down a cause, no one can say if what happened there could happen here.

Local limo companies can't recall an incident in the islands where anyone was hurt.

"This is Chrysler 300  10-passenger limo," said Tanya Tiet, vice president of Duke’s Limousine Services.

Tiet has been in the limo business for about 20 years.

Her clients range from movie stars to corporate executives, but the company also does its fair share of weddings and proms.

With the exception of one limo that is about two years old, every other vehicle in her fleet is pretty brand new.

"I think probably in a new limo, you have a better chance. Old ones, you dont know what happen. We keep our limos every four years, at the most five" said Tiet.

Tiet says the company makes a point to deal with reputable businesses.

She says the Public Utilities Commission requires the commercial carriers to be equipped with extinguishers, first aid kits and flares.

But they are kept in the trunk, and would not have helped in the California incident.

Not all limos are made the same--and some have more ways in and out than others.

"Like the SUV extra-long, we have an emergency exit on the rooftop and here is a fifth door it makes it easy to get in and out," said Tiet.

Tiet believes it's in the company’s interest to talk about people's fears and she hopes the California case spurs scrutiny to help save lives.

Jay's Limo  told KITV one of the company limo's caught fire while still in the parking lot.

No one was inside at the time, and fortunately the vehicle was right across from a fire station and was put out right away.

And the owner said he himself personally saw a limo fire on the freeway just last year.

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