Hydrogen Leak at Emeryville AC Transit Facility

Hydrogen Leak at Emeryville AC Transit Facility

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Salim Virji

    Emeryville fire crews raced to the AC Transit facility  Friday morning after a hydrogen fuel tank leak , prompting the closure of two schools and the evacuation of the nearby Pixar Studios.

    By early afternoon, AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said the leak was capped, and now, technicians are trying to determine why a hydrogen storage tank began "venting." No one was hurt during the early-morning leak.

    But it did force the closures of schools and evacuations of businesses.

    The leak and fire was reported about 7:30 a.m. at the bus yard at 45th and San Pablo streets.

    Crews told NBC Bay Area that while it is possible that hydrogren can explode, there was a stronger possibility that the gas could dissipate without harm in the air. An NBC Bay helicopter was over the scene, showing images of a fire coming out of what looked like a covered shed.

    Emeryville High and Emery Secondary schools were both closed for the day. Pixar, and other surrounding businesses, have been evacuated. By mid-morning, Pixar decided to close for the day.

    As of 10: 30 a.m., most of the evacuation orders had been lifted, except for the immediate area surrounding the fire.

    Diane Martinez, who lives and works in Emeryville, told NBC Bay area that she heard "whooshing sounds and sirens" about 7:45 a.m. but didn't know much more than that.

    On April 10, AC Transit held a grand opening ceremony with high-powered players including Congresswoman Barbara Lee, to announce its "innovative" hydrogen fueling facility. The goal, according the news release, was to unveil the "latest generation of zero-emission fuel cell buses and the newest hydrogen production and dispensing station entering service, promising to reduce emissions throughout the region."