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BART evacuation: Brake problem causes BART train emergency, evacuation issued

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The BART evacuation that occurred Wednesday morning forced hundreds of passengers on a San Francisco Bay Area BART train to get off after a parking brake suddenly deployed. According to a Dec. 4 report from the L.A Times, some passengers were treated for smoke inhalation shortly after the BART evacuation.

The brake mishap happened inside the Berkeley Hills Tunnel and BART officials stated that they made an attempt to dispatch a rescue train filled with firefighters out to the disabled train. However, the rescue attempt was unsuccessful because they were unable to reach the BART train.

Crews managed to get the BART train to nearby Rockridge station where the BART evacuation was carried out.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority stated that around 600 to 700 passengers were evacuated and the station was closed for a short time while firefighters could provide medical care to passengers who suffered from smoke inhalation.

Regarding the BART evacuation, BART spokesman Jim Allison told media sources: "This is primarily due to being confined on the train in the tunnel, and there was smoke or brake dust that resulted from the train trying to move while the brake was engaged."

Oakland Fire Department reported that nine people were taken to hospitals to receive further medical attention.

ABC 7 reports that the BART evacuation left a lot of people shaken up after they noticed their cars filling up with smoke and seeing other passengers having difficulty breathing.

"When the ventilation system starts in the tunnel, it's an automatic closure of the doors and that is for the safety of the personnel on the train as well as the firefighters responding," Oakland Fire Chief Melinda Drayton explained.

BART spokesperson Alicia Trost told the local news station that the smoke from the BART train was caused by an emergency brake that got stuck, but added that they are still investigating what happened. She said there was never a fire and that what passengers were dealing with was brake dust that entered the trains.

At the time of the BART evacuation, many passengers were frustrated at BART over a lack of communication about what exactly was going on and what their options were, ABC 7 said.

Although the BART evacuation was eventually resolved, it caused a temporary delay on a line connecting San Francisco with suburbs in the surrounding area.

News of the BART evacuation comes just a month after the BART fatality that occurred in early Nov. A 16-year-old was crushed by a BART train after he threw himself in from the train. The teen's tragic suicide shocked onlookers at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station

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