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Fire Shuts Down BART Service From East Bay to S.F.

Highways leading to Bay Bridge are completely clogged; long lines for bus service, which is being offered at the MacArthur and 19th Street Oakland stations.

Updated 8:09 a.m.

From Bay City News Service:

BART service to San Francisco has been shut down after a fire involving multiple structures knocked out power around the West Oakland BART station, officials said.

According to a BART dispatcher, there will be no service Thursday through the Transbay Tube until the tracks are repaired and BART is advising commuters to find an alternate route. 

BART spokesman Jim Allison said it is too early to tell how long the tube might be closed, and whether it may be a matter of hours or even days. He said that a preliminary examination of the tracks suggests there may not be any physical damage and that there is mainly an electrical problem, however that estimate may change.

For commute information, visit 511.org. You can also sign up for BART text and email alerts for news.

AC Transit has made some changes to bus routes to accommodate BART riders. AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said that while AC Transit has not added any additional buses, transbay buses that would normally stop elsewhere in Oakland will be diverted to BART stations to pick up customers, but according to TV news reports, the buses that are arriving are already full.

BART riders seeking to take a bus into San Francisco should get off BART at either the MacArthur or 19th Street Oakland stations where there will be staging areas for catching transbay buses, Johnson said. BART tickets will be honored today for trips to San Francisco, Johnson said.

However, AC Transit may not be able to provide any additional buses in addition to its usual transbay service. "We will do what we can, it's difficult for us to add extra buses because we don't have a lot of extra buses to add," Johnson said.

All buses from Oakland will go to the Transbay Terminal at Beale and Howard streets, and travelers from San Francisco to Oakland will be able to catch buses there to the East Bay, Johnson said. "We do have some extra capacity on our morning commute, hopefully we'll be able to handle a lot of the load without a great deal of difficulty," Johnson said.

The fire, near the corner of Seventh Street and Mandela Parkway, was first reported at 2:15 a.m. at a construction site unrelated to BART, a fire dispatcher said. Flames spread to neighboring buildings, lampposts and elevated BART tracks, so firefighters shut down power to the tracks, fire officials said.

As a precaution, PG&E shut down service to nine customers in the area of Fifth Street and Mandela Parkway, PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi said. The fire damaged electrical infrastructure, including several utility poles. It was under control as of 4 a.m.

There is no estimated time for restoring power in that area, Guidi said. Multiple agencies have responded to the fire, and a California Highway Patrol helicopter is providing aerial support.

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