After an electrical malfunction at the Civic Center BART station sent sparks flying and passengers scrambling earlier this month, BART officials have reviewed surveillance videos and finally released them to the public.
On September 16, passengers at Civic Center station fled the platform after a bright flash and heavy smoke emitted from the tracks.
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According to BART, the incident was caused by an arc of electricity released by the track's high-voltage third rail. Investigators believe that the incoming train may have struck debris that was capable of conducting electricity.
BART completed an investigation into the incident and released a statement on its website on Tuesday:
A large 1000-volt arc of electricity adjacent to a train entering Civic Center Station created smoky conditions and required the evacuation of the train and the station. […] The 1000 volt-arc caused a bright flash of light, loud sounds and smoke. The incident was over in less than 30 seconds. It did not cause any significant damage to BART equipment.
Though witnesses reported a fire or explosion, BART officials insisted the incident was simply a flash of electricity.
"This was not a fire in the sense of flames burning any solid material or causing any structural damage, but the bright flash of the arc has a fiery appearance," said BART Chief Engineer Don Allen in a statement. "There was a cloud of heavy smoke so it is understandable that to some passengers it seemed like a fire."
BART noted that all passengers escaped the station safely, and claimed that, though the situation was likely frightening, riders were not in danger.
“The safety of our passengers is our top priority," said BART General Manager Grace Crunican. "We apologize for the inconvenience and for those passengers who were startled by the arc and smoke. All our front line personnel undergo extensive training and we conduct regular inspections to make sure our equipment meets safety standards. [...] We encourage all BART riders to review the posted safety procedures in the unlikely event they should ever experience an emergency situation in their travels.”
Watch the video of the incident in the clip below:
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