SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU and wires) – BART commuters were recovering from a rush-hour nightmare Thursday after a fire on a train filled a rail car with smoke, injuring three people.
The incident began around 4:30 a.m. in the last car of a three-car train carrying 50 passengers on the tracks in east Oakland, said BART spokesman Jim Allison.
“It looks as if there was some sort of electrical arcing on the outside of the last car,” Allison said.
However, a cause of the fire was still under investigation.
Among the passengers was Rila Abdullah.
“I just thought we were going to die (as the train filled with smoke),” she told KTVU Fox 2. “The driver was pretty good. She kept people calm.”
Damon Smith said chaos broke out as the train stopped near the Fruitvale station.
“The entire back of the train was filling with smoke,” he said. “When we stopped, there was a bunch of people trying to run out onto the tracks. It was pandemonium.”
One person suffered smoke inhalation, another was treated for breathing difficulties and another had an injured hand, the Oakland Fire Department said.
There were delays systemwide Thursday as four stations -- Lake Merritt, San Leandro, Fruitvale and Coliseum -- were closed for several hours.
There was also no service to Oakland International Airport.
Service was restored around 9 a.m. with delays across the system as it returned to normal operations.