WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — Service was restored after an electrical fire at the Walnut Creek BART station brought trains to a halt and trapped hundreds of passengers Saturday evening.

It happened on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line shutting down service between Lafayette and Pleasant Hill. Service was restored around 7:15 p.m. with trains moving at reduced speeds and delays.

Authorities say no one was injured and so far, no foul play is suspected.

Fire crews responded to the blaze just after 6 p.m. and found an estimated 250 stranded passengers, according to a BART spokesperson.

Passengers evacuating after fire breaks out at Walnut Creek BART station. (Contra Costa Fire)

Passengers evacuating after fire breaks out at Walnut Creek BART station. (Contra Costa Fire)

The fire started in an electrical vault at the north end of the station, according to Contra Costa Fire Department.

“When they arrived they found a lot of smoke coming from out of the electrical room along with some explosions,” said fire department spokesperson Robert Marshall.

Video posted on Instagram shows large flames behind the walls underneath the track and billowing white smoke.

The BART station is on fire. It sounded like the transformer exploded. 🔥

A post shared by Jared MacEachern (@jaredmaceachern) on


As crews doused the flames, passengers were stranded inside the train for nearly two hours without power or access to bathrooms before they could be evacuated.

Michelle Tan was in a BART car that had just left the station. She said it only made it 30 feet before coming to a stop.

“Once we were stopped maybe a few minutes later then all of a sudden fire engines came and then we were just looking down — we couldn’t really see any fire or anything,” she said.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire quickly, but couldn’t put it out completely until BART electricians showed up to shut off the power in the vault.

“This is a substation that actually powers the BART tracks so it’s a lot of energy that’s in the room,” said Marshall.

During the ordeal, BART set up a bus bridge to pick up passengers at stations between Rockridge and Pleasant Hill.

Comments (3)
  1. We were only “trapped” because of BART’s failure to evacuate us. What the hell went wrong with BART’s evacuation procedures? We were stuck on this train for HOURS watching flames lick the tracks, feeling like a spit on a barbecue while there was a total failure to evacuate us. We should have been yanked off this train within 5 minutes, not the 2 1/2 hours that it took.

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