TODAY

TODAY   |  May 07, 2013

Limo fire survivor describes trying to save friend

Nelia Arellano, one of the survivors of the tragic limo fire that killed five women over the weekend, speaks out about the terrifying ordeal, saying she tried to help her friends escape but the fire was too intense. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> to the driver. two survivors remain in the hospital this morning. miguel, good morning.

>> reporter: willie, good morning to you. two of those victims are in stable and critical condition as they recover this morning, we're hearing their firsthand accounts from inside the vehicle. when firefighters arrived on the san matteo bridge, the limousine carrying nine women out celebrating a wedding was engolfed in flames. 36-year-old cried out to the driver, the moving limousine was on fire.

>> the fire came out. it stopped the car. stop the car.

>> reporter: she said that flames shot from underneath the rear seat . the back doors, she said, were covered in smoke and fire.

>> i cannot get out. help me. i cannot get out. so, i tried to pull her out.

>> reporter: the coroner says the five victims who died were all discovered behind the driver's seat. it appears, he says, they were all trying to get through a partition like this one. among the dead, 31-year-old newlywed, the victims were celebrating her wedding.

>> flames just started bursting. just everywhere.

>> reporter: when the driver heard the first call for help , he thought his passengers wanted to smoke a cigarette.

>> smoke, smoke, smoke. pull over. i was looking. i finally kind of looked back a couple of times. and i see the grief on their face.

>> reporter: the limousine with the new bride inside was just minutes away from the last stop, the hotel where her husband was waiting. . the investigation could take weeks. this morning, no answers. just heartbreak.

>> i need to go back. i need to go back and save them. no, you cannot go back anymore.

>> reporter: the highway patrol said that the limousine involved in the accident, 1999 lincoln town car was designed to carry eight passengers, nine women were inside. the company that owns the vehicle are said to be cooperating with the investigators.

>> orville brown was the driver of that vehicle. he's with us exclusively.

>> hi.