She’s alive! The bride speaks! Fire at Johnston Gate II


The bride who was in the limo that became an inferno by Johnston Gate back on April 30 commented my post about it and Ezra Ball’s blog. As my new blogbuddy felicia says,  “you make my life beautiful and excellentacious!” Let me quote the bride here:

I am the bride who escaped from the burning limo – rather dramatic
start to my wedding, but we’re glad everyone was okay. We didn’t crash
into the gate, the limo was basically smoking the whole ride, though
the driver kept telling us it was just “burning off extra oil”…
Also, the limo
company was Discover Boston, and they have done NOTHING to compensate
us for this – they haven’t even refunded our money!

An excerpt of her comment at Erza’s RealFake blog:

We were never interviewed by the police, so I’m not sure if there is
any investigation going on. The limo company has done NOTHING to
address the situation. The[y] didn’t even send back up transportation to
get us to the reception! Everyone was fine, but all my bridesmaids’
things (in the trunk) were ruined, and our lives were all at risk. I
feel worst for my bridesmaid who was 8 months pregnant, and for my 3
year old flower girl, and for my poor parents.

Dear Carrie,

There’s a bounty of bloggers who are glad everyone is
okay.  Thank you for shedding light on the origin of the fire.
There were questions of  intrigue and foul play. More than one
blogger wondered if someone  important was in the limo – one
thought maybe the President of Harvard.
I knew that wasn’t the case.
His limo is not white, not a stretch, and has a distinctive license
plate.  [ I know Joe, the driver. He drove for the old guy too.]
But when some bloggers said “oh just a car fire,” I was upset.
Anyone who saw the huge flames [shown by the Crimson and felicia]
could see that something really awful might have happened to someone.
In my view, there WAS someone important in that limo. How very nice to
meet you, I hope to meet the others with you.

Without further ado:

Congratulations on your wedding to you and yours!

 I‘m thinking “yours” means “Mr. Carrie”, but the
congratulations are unconditional. [ I am very proud of the Clerk of
the City of Cambridge, Margaret Drury, opening her office at midnight
on the first day it was legal for gay couples to wed.]

You most certainly may have the pictures for your album. I will e-mail
them. Also, you might ask Ezra Ball, the Crimson, and felicia for
theirs. I’ll try to pave the way. I know Dowbrigade. He’ll come through
for you. May I have one from the happier part of the occasion [including the flower girl]? May I
post it here?

My original post about you was something of an experiment. I wondered
whether I would be able to find out what happened through the
blogoshpere without relying on “the authorities” who often try to
minimize things to avoid “alarming the public.” [ The HUPD, in the Public Police Log,
describes your “limo inferno” as an incident of type “Assist Cambridge
Police” and its disposition “Closed.”] I’m declaring the
experiment a success and am not at all disappointed that there was no
great conspiracy involved. However, you and yours have been
mistreated. I propose phase II of my experiment. Can we get some
justice for the newlyweds?

I would not rule out legal action, but we may not have to go that far.
Perhaps if we alert the blogosphere we can shame these folks into doing
the right thing. I suppose we can let the mainstream media in on it
eventually. And if push comes to shove, there are a lot of lawyers near
the Berkman Center where this blog lives.  But we need one thing
from you. Would you tell us which of the several Google hits for
“Discover Boston” is the website of the company you hired? We’ll take
it from there.

Fire at Johnston Gate.
STRIKE!!! Nstar: Havard PSLM is there.


  1. Ezra

    May 14, 2005 @ 6:53 pm


    Randy– Carrie left a comment on my blog yesterday as well!
    She noted that the limo company “didn’t even send back up transportation to get us to the reception!”

    If there’s anything I can do to help her get her money back from the limo company, count me in!

  2. Erica

    May 17, 2005 @ 3:29 pm


    Randy – I was walking through the square and saw the scene after the passengers had left. I too am glad to learn (via the Universal Hub blog) that everyone was unhurt. Nobody at the scene would tell onlookers anything, but I did eventually overhear a fireperson ask the limo driver if anyone had been hurt, and he said no. The limo company had several other vehicles on hand though. There was a second white limo with a second driver, and the driver of the original vehicle got into that to drive away. There was also a short tourbus-looking vehicle with a Discover Boston logo. So apparently they did send backup transport, just not nearly soon enough for the bride and her crew.

  3. randy.f

    May 17, 2005 @ 5:05 pm


    Thank you Erica,

    I don’t want to make false accusations. I wonder if Discover Boston was unable to figure out that the everybody had gone to Memorial Church. They should have been able to figure it out, but in the heat of the moment?

    R U Erica Berkblog?


  4. Carrie

    May 24, 2005 @ 10:13 am


    Hi again, it’s Carrie. This is great that you all are so interested in this! We’ve been having a mess of a time with the limo company – Discover Boston, Another interesting tidbit is the fact that the type of car reported by the Crimson (Lincoln) is not the same as the type of car Discover Boston’s insurance company has on file – so there might have been some switching of tags going on. And it turns out that Discover Boston only had collision insurance, and there is no coverage for the personal property losses of the bridal party. All of them are graduate students (poor, as you know) and the mother of the flower girl is a single mom – so no money there either to replace lost belongings. The extra limo was for my in-laws and other of my now-hisband’s relatives, who did let us use it to get to the reception (but only after we seriously considered getting a ride to the reception with the photographer!). The trolleys were for the guests, and since the whole bridal party ended up on the trolleys, there was not enough space for everyone, and several people ended up taking cabs or the T. It makes me so upset that the Discover Boston owner (Gideon Onkin) did not send another vehicle – even if he had to drive his own personal car, or send a taxi! They did send my parents a check for $390, to reimburse for the limos, but that certainly does not over the cost of the bridal party’s belongings… I will send a nice picture from the wedding when I get them from the photographer. –Carrie

  5. KK Teh

    May 24, 2005 @ 12:09 pm


    The second limo was not a backup limo–it was supposed to be for my parents and relatives to get to the reception but they ended up having to take the trolley! My parents were considerate enough to let us use it to get to the reception. The company had at least 45 minutes from the time of the fire to the end of the ceremony to get alternate transportation for us but they did not care to. The trolley was supposed to be for guests only–who knows, they might have been over the legal limit for passengers as well many had to take some other form of transport. If you think about it, its really quite unacceptable practice to run a limo service where one of your vehicles is disabled and not provide your guests who are all dressed up and expecting a nice, elegant ride alternate transportation. It’s ridiculous.

  6. Carrie

    May 24, 2005 @ 7:27 pm


    KK is my (now) husband, in case the origin of his post was confusing!

  7. randy.f

    May 26, 2005 @ 2:31 pm


    Congratulations Carrie and KK!

    And on a more somber note:

    I saw the blaze and knew immediately that something was seriously wrong. Then I saw the fire department and assumed that everything was under control, but apparently I was not quite right. I submitted a Consent Communication to Cambridge City Council. You were not the lead item, commending them for support of Local 369 of UWUA was. But, I did give them the links to the fire pix and asked them to see if City Departments excercised due diligence. Since Discover Boston is a Boston Company the matter of financial redress comes under the purview of the City of Boston.

    I have never been that close to being burned alive so I don’t really know how it feels. I would expect to be just a tad upset. So, I think calling the backup arrangements DB made “nothing” is quite understable. However, there does appear to be some measure of good faith from them. I do agree that they should have gone to greater lengths to make amends for a terrible error of judgement.

    I don’t think you will need to go to court. I think we can work this out with a bit of public oversight. I’m not sure if I should visit the Oknin’s, but if they ask me to, I will. I will find out what agency of the executive branch of the city has jurisdiction and ask Councillor Hennigan to exercise legislative oversight. I missed the deadline for this week’s “Report of Public Officials and Other.” I feel a bit awkward about being an “Other”, “Public Other” is a little better. I’ll get it in next week.


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