.

UPDATE: Rockridge BART Station Evacuated, 9 Passengers Hospitalized

There were 600 to 700 passengers on the BART train about 8:20 a.m. when the incident happened. They were stuck in the Berkeley Hills tunnel until mechanical issues were resolved.

BART train. Credit: BART.gov
BART train. Credit: BART.gov
UPDATE 12:45 PM

BART service is getting back to normal after a train experienced a brake failure and became disabled in the Berkeley Hills tunnel this morning in an incident that sent nine passengers to hospitals.

The incident started around 8:20 a.m. when a parking brake deployed in error on a train bound for San Francisco International Airport on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison.

The train became disabled, blocking the tracks, and a "brake dust" filled some of the cars, BART spokeswoman Luna Salaver said. "There was absolutely no fire on the train," Salaver said.

There were 600 to 700 passengers on the train at the time, and they were in the Berkeley Hills tunnel until the mechanical issues were resolved and the train began moving again about an hour later, Allison said.

"Rescue trains" had initially been deployed to assist the stranded passengers, but were canceled after a technician got the disabled train to move on its own, according to Allison.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m., the train arrived at the Rockridge station, where Oakland firefighters assisted passengers who had requested medical attention, Allison said.

Oakland fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said medical crews treated 11 passengers at the station. Nine of those people were taken to hospitals. Two of the nine were having difficulty breathing, she said. One passenger was semi-conscious when taken off the train, Drayton said.

Passenger Angela Moore, 32, of Pittsburg, had gotten on the train around 7:45 a.m. at the Pittsburg-Bay Point station. She was headed to the 12th Street station in Oakland but when the train went into the tunnel it stopped. She said her train car, which was in the middle of the train, smelled like smoke.

The train sat for about a long time in the tunnel. "I wanted it to be over," she said. A train operator came to her car and told passengers to stay calm, and told those affected by the smoky conditions to move to cars closer to the front or back, she said.

Once at the Rockridge station, she was evaluated by Oakland fire medical personnel. They offered to take her to the hospital after she said she wasn't feeling well, but she declined. Instead, as of 10:30 a.m., she was waiting for her husband to pick her up at Rockridge and take her to her own doctor. She said her throat feels scratchy and it feels like she needs to cough. She also has a headache, she said.

The Orinda and Rockridge stations were closed while the train was stuck in the tunnel, and crowds of commuters stood outside the stations waiting to take BART to work.

An employee at the Cactus Taqueria on College Avenue across the street from the Rockridge station said the station's entrances were blocked by paramedics and firefighters. She said there were groups of people waiting on the sidewalk.

++++++++
UPDATE 10:10 AM

A BART train that became disabled between the Rockridge and Orinda stations this morning because of a smoky brake problem is now at the Rockridge station, where passengers have been let off the train.

"All passengers have been evacuated and those in need of medical care are being treated by Oakland Fire Department personnel," BART spokesman Jim Allison said. The Oakland firefighters' union tweeted that fire personnel were assisting 10 patients, "with more being triaged."

BART spokeswoman Luna Salaver said that at about 8:15 a.m., a San Francisco International Airport-bound train on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line suffered a parking brake failure.

The incident created "brake dust" and caused some smoking, and the train became disabled, blocking the tracks, she said. She compared the smoke to that created when a driver slams on the brakes of a car. "There was absolutely no fire on the train," Salaver said.

As of 9:05 a.m., the passengers remained stranded on the stopped train in the Berkeley Hills tunnel. The platform of the Rockridge station was cleared out in anticipation of the disabled train eventually coming in. The train eventually began moving again and reached the Rockridge station shortly after 9:30 a.m., Allison said.

"A technician on board the train has been able to get it moving under its own power," he said.

Two "rescue trains" that had been dispatched to assist passengers who were stuck on the disabled train have been canceled because they are no longer necessary, Allison said.

Crowds of commuters stood outside the station waiting to take BART to work.

An employee at the Cactus Taqueria on College Avenue across the street from the Rockridge station said the station's entrances were blocked by paramedics and firefighters. She said there were groups of people waiting on the sidewalk.

A person on the disabled train tweeted at 8:32 a.m. that there was some smoke in the train car. Shortly after 9 a.m., that person tweeted, "Train operator calling for a doctor now... We are chatting in our car otherwise in good spirits."

Salaver said there were major delays of up to 30 minutes in both directions on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line.

*************
UPDATE 9:30 AM

A brake failure on a BART train has created smoke and left a train full of passengers stuck on the tracks between the Orinda and Rockridge stations.

BART spokeswoman Luna Salaver said that at about 8:15 a.m., a San Francisco International Airport-bound train on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line suffered a parking brake failure.

The incident created "brake dust" and caused some smoking, and the train became disabled, blocking the tracks, she said. She compared the smoke to that created when a driver slams on the brakes of a car. "There was absolutely no fire on the train," Salaver said.

As of 9:05 a.m., the passengers remained stranded on the stopped train. "We are sending a rescue train to get the passengers off of that disabled train," Salaver said. The platform of the Rockridge station has been cleared out in anticipation of the disabled train eventually coming in, but Salaver said the station was not closed.

Crowds of commuters stood outside the station waiting to take BART to work.

An employee at the Cactus Taqueria on College Avenue across the street from the Rockridge station said the station's entrances are blocked by paramedics and firefighters. She said there are groups of people waiting on the sidewalk.

A person on the disabled train tweeted at 8:32 a.m. that there was some smoke in the train car. Shortly after 9 a.m., that person tweeted, "Train operator calling for a doctor now... We are chatting in our car otherwise in good spirits."

About 10 minutes later, the same user posted, "We are waiting to be evacuated off Bart to rescue train. Getting instructions from train operator."

Salaver said there are major delays of up to 30 minutes in both directions on the Pittsburg-Bay Point line.

***************
(original story)
The Rockridge BART station has been evacuated this morning because of a disabled train with a brake problem that has created smoke.

The disabled train is blocking the tracks between the Rockridge and Orinda stations and there are major delays, a BART employee said.

The problem started at about 8:15 a.m. and involved a San Francisco-bound train, the employee said. He said there was an issue with the train's brakes, which may have created some smoke. There was no fire, he said.

Trains are having to single-track around the disabled train, the employee said.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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