Fire on tracks, stray balloon cause major BART delays

BART officials said that a fire on the tracks in the vicinity of the 24th St. Mission Station in San Francisco and a mylar balloon that touched a rail at Civic Center Station caused major delays Tuesday morning.

BART officials first reported a delay as of 5:18 a.m., when reports of smoldering debris on the tracks prevented trains from passing through the 24th Street station.

The fire was extinguished as of 6:15 a.m.

San Francisco fire Lt. Jonathan Baxter said the blaze might have been sparked by an accumulation of debris or garbage on a railroad tie, since the fire started “inside” the track.

Baxter said BART uses a protective coating on the tie, but when a large amount of trash accumulates on the tie, it can spark a fire, which is a rare occurrence.

BART officials issued a second advisory at 7:30 a.m. about an equipment Problem that was causing trains not to stop at Civic Center.

That problem was related to a balloon that floated down and hit the rail, then exploded and caused smoke in the station, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

BART officials closed the Civic Center station, with some trains turning around back toward the East Bay and others running through the station without stopping, Allison said.

Shortly after 7:50 a.m., BART officials said normal service was being restored at the station.

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