San Francisco, CA, USA — Bay Area Rapid Transit trains to Richmond began running again this evening with only minimal delays after a brush fire caused service to three stations to shut down during the rush-hour commute.
Commuters were relying on alternate forms of public transportation for almost two hours as a brush fire, which started around 4:30 p.m., caused minimal damage to a third-rail covering, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.
There were also concerns that smoke and the potential of smoke from the blaze, located just north of the North Berkeley station, would make travel along the line too dangerous.
Three stations north of the fire were closed, and trains were turned around at the North Berkeley station. Service elsewhere ran on time, Johnson said.
Richmond firefighters left the fire around 6:28 p.m., according to acting Battalion Chief Michael Pigoni.
The half-acre fire was on both sides of the track, Pigoni said, and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Pigoni said sparks from a BART train could have started the fire, but a cigarette discarded from a car could have been the cause. There is also a transient encampment in the area, Pigoni said.
Commuters had to find alternate forms public transportation such as bus service during the fire. Johnson said BART was working with several different public transportation agencies such as the Alameda/Contra Costa Transit District to set up bus bridges.
But bus lines had difficulties accommodating the request because all units were already in use due to the Friday peak hour.
According to a passenger at the El Cerrito del Norte station, power had been cut at the station and commuters waiting to board a train there were told to leave.