Police, witnesses split on Civic Center BART fire

S.F. Examiner File Photo

A passenger riding on the BART train that caused a one-hour station closure Sunday said there was in fact a loud explosion and towering flames as the train pulled into the station, contradicting what police reported.

“It was crazy,” said David Bloemer, a 26-year-old visitor from Louisville, Ky. “There was a loud noise and a bang. First there was a static noise then lots of heat and flames — about 10 feet high.”

About 1:30 p.m. Sunday, reports of a loud explosion and smoke coming from a train prompted BART police to evacuate the Civic Center station.

BART police said their reports of the incident do not indicate that there were any flames, but there was heavy smoke in the area.

Lt. Tyrone Forte said Sunday that there was no fire or explosion, just a lot of smoke caused by an overload to one of the train’s brakes.

But Bloemer said he witnessed a different scene — a very chaotic one. Flames burst out from under the middle of the train, he said, dense smoke filled the station, passengers rushed to exit the train and police helped evacuate the area while some passengers took photos with their cellphones.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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