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Hydrogen Tank Rupture In Emeryville Prompts Evacuations

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Police and fire department vehicles on the scene of a hydrogen gas leak at an AC Transit bus yard, May 4, 2012. (CBS)

Police and fire department vehicles on the scene of a hydrogen gas leak at an AC Transit bus yard, May 4, 2012. (CBS)

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EMERYVILLE (CBS SF) – An Alameda-Contra Costa Transit bus yard in Emeryville has reopened after a hydrogen fuel leak Friday morning prompted an evacuation of the area.

Police removed barriers and began allowing people back into businesses around the bus yard at 45th Street and San Pablo Avenue shortly before 11:30 a.m., AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said.

The leak was reported at about 7:30 a.m., when employees reported hearing a noise and seeing a small fire coming from a hydrogen fuel tank, Johnson said.

Johnson emphasized that there was not an explosion, just the sound of fuel leaking out. The fire was small and had burned itself out before fire officials arrived on the scene, he said.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Authorities cordoned off the area about a block in each direction from the bus yard, and evacuated nearby businesses and Emery Secondary School at 47th Street and San Pablo Avenue, Johnson said.

There were no injuries connected to the leak or fire, and no damage to surrounding property. Johnson said that the hydrogen went straight up into the air, making it very unlikely that anyone was exposed or in any danger from it.

AC Transit was working to determine what caused the leak.

“We suspect some kind of static electricity or energy,” Johnson said.

The hydrogen is used to fuel 12 AC Transit buses, and will soon be available to members of the public seeking to fuel private vehicles, Johnson said.

The fueling station is relatively new, having opened in August, he said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service . All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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