Smoke Under BART Train Forces Evacuation at Orinda Station

A Wednesday night fire on the BART tracks was still causing headaches and single-tracking service early Thursday morning on the Pittsburg/Bay Point Line between Rockridge and Lafayette, though by 7 a.m., everything was up and running.

Before 6 a.m., trains were single-tracking stemming from a fire that was sparked in a train's semiconductor box that caught on fire just after 6 p.m. the night before, prompting passenger evacuations and disrupting Wednesday night's service. But by 7 a.m., both tracks had been re-opened, according to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

The semiconductor box -- which weighs between 1,200 to 1,600 pounds -- is installed underneath the train, officials said. The box takes power from the third rail and distributes it to the trains.

Crews late Wednesday were working to remove it for examination and to figure out what caused the blaze.

Firefighters arrived at the station at about 6:20 p.m. to attend to the fire, officials said. Smoke was still visible coming from the train as of 6:40 p.m.

The incident caused major delays along the Pittsburg/Bay Point line and the San Francisco International Airport line.

A temporary bus bridge was set up between the Orinda and Lafayette stations as trains were unable to stop at the station.

The incident also caused heavy traffic backups along eastbound state Highway 24 through the Caldecott Tunnel as onlookers watched the train smoking along the platform, which sits between the two sides of the highway.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said shortly after 8 p.m. trains were able to begin stopping at the Orinda station.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Contact Us