Riders Forced to Evacuate Civic Center BART Station in SF

Riders were forced to evacuate Civic Center BART station in San Francisco Saturday afternoon after reports of plumes of smoke.

BART said the station was temporarily closed due to "an equipment problem on the track" and there was smoke but no apparent fire despite witnesses saying they saw flames.

"A huge flash of fire, the train slowed down, I saw that it stopped at the Civic Center stop," said passenger Justin Gillard. "People were panicking, people were screaming trying to get out of the car .”

The smoke was caused by an apparent arching of power source in the third rail along the tracks of the train, the San Francisco Fire Department confirmed.

In a series of tweets, BART said that there was no fire and explained that when a track insulator fails, it makes a sharp bang noise and creates a lot of smoke.

"I was on the train, I saw the huge flash of fire so whether this was routine or not, it didn't feel routing for me," said Gillard. "It was pretty traumatic and probably more traumatic for other people on the train ."

Two people were transported for minor smoke inhalation. 

The first call was made at 5:30 p.m. and the station was reopened at 6:12 p.m.

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