A grass fire sparked by a power line failure was threatening a major Chevron natural gas pipeline junction Thursday, leading 4,000 people to evacuate from their homes to a BART station parking lot.
Police officers started knocking on doors of homes between Bay Point and Pittsburg Wednesday night, telling them to grab whatever they can and leave. Two evacuation points were set up at Calvary Temple Church in Concord and Pittsburg/Bay Point BART parking lot.
Families lined up parking lot early Thursday morning to receive food, water and blankets from the American Red Cross.
"So far I got my in laws with me and the elderly. My father-in-law can't walk. He's in the car, his medication is in our house," Bay Point resident Tonya Manuha told NBC Bay Area.
Michelle Calhoun says she had been running the heat in her car because she wasn't able to get the first batch of blankets since they were first given out to children and the elderly.
"I didn't understand when the cops first knocked on the door because it's like midnight, you're in a deep sleep. They wake you up out of your sleep and you have to evacuate," Calhoun said.
Scotch Williams said he got a phone call about the evacuation around 9:15 p.m. but he didn't pay much attention to it. "I just sat down and started eating. Next thing I knew, there was a knock on the door," he said.
Williams told his wife to go stay with her counsins and he stayed at the BART station to stay closer to their house.
"When I got here there was about 15 cars, an officer got a phone call there was going to be 3,000 people more coming. Next thing I knew, BART got pretty crowded," Williams said.
Marissa Esquer said she just grabbed her dog, put on some pajamas and she and her brother just got in the car. "It's uncomfortable. I can't really watch my surroundings so I don't really wanna fall asleep because you can't really trust people nowadays," Esquer said.
The evacuation center at BART was later moved to Los Medanos College on 2700 E. Leland Rd., the Red Cross said.
Chevron said they learned of the blaze about 8 p.m. Wednesday, immediately shut down the gas line and spent the night working to reduce pressure in it.
Fire officials advised residents not to be alarmed by a loud, shrieking noise that they described as being a "normal part of the risk-mitigation process" at the pipeline facility on Buchanan Road in Antioch.