Surveillance video of smoke flooding SF BART station
SAN FRANCISCO —
An 1000-volt arc caused a bright flash of light, loud sounds and smoke, forcing BART officials to shut down the Civic Center station for nearly an hour this weekend, investigators announced Tuesday.
Chief Engineer Don Allen said the flash gave the appearance of a fire to two police officers, who reported “a bright orange flash coming from the rear of the train.”
“This was not a fire in the sense of flames burning any solid material or causing any structural damage, but the bright flash of the arc has a fiery appearance,” Allen said in a prepared release. “There was a cloud of heavy smoke so it is understandable that to some passengers it seemed like fire.”
The 1000 volts of electricity used to power BART trains is supplied through an electrified third rail, the agency said, and that is supported at 10 foot intervals by porcelain insulators.
A collector shoe extending from the bottom of the train car contacts the third rail, completing the electrical circuit. If there is a gap in this circuit for any reason, the electrical current can arc to ground, the agency added.
All the passengers exited the Pittsburg/Bay Point train safely and the Civic Center Station was closed for about one hour as the equipment was checked out and cleared for safety.
BART will be reviewing the incident with the California Public Utilities Commission and Muni Metro- which shares the station with BART.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.