ORINDA -- A smoldering fire under a BART train caused major delays and forced the closure of the Orinda BART station Wednesday evening, but no one was injured.
Reports of smoke coming from under the eastbound train came in shortly after 6 p.m., said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost. The fire is believed to have started with an electrical short in a semiconductor box, she added.
All passengers were evacuated from the train and the platform, Trost added.
The fire continued to flare up after 8 p.m., and Moraga-Orinda Fire Department spokesman Stephen Healy said crews would have to saw through part of the train to control the fire.
One passenger said she noticed a peculiar smell when she boarded the train in San Francisco.
"I smelled a strong odor like burnt tires when I got on the train at the Montgomery station," said Pleasant Hill resident Karen Hurtado, who was heading home from work. "Everybody initially appeared fairly casual when word got out that there was a fire on the train.
"I'm just glad we were not in the tunnel when the fire started. We actually had a place to get off the train."
Adam Cortez, of Palo Alto, was on his way to meet his girlfriend in Concord before the couple headed to rapper Kanye West's show at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
He was standing right next to the window inside the train when hazy smoke appeared.
There was no announcement over the train's intercom system, he said. Eventually someone on the platform yelled through the doors, "The train is on fire," he said.
Half of the passengers ran off the train, Cortez said; the other half pulled out their phones and started taking pictures and recording video.
Trost refuted claims that no announcement was made to exit the train. Rather, she said a person specifically meant to make such announcements from the agency's central command did send out a notice over the train's PA system, but that perhaps the commotion on the train made the announcement difficult to hear or that one of the speakers in one of the cars did not work.
Trost added that either way, the agency will look into what may have caused several passengers to claim they, in fact, did not hear anything.
Trains moved through the station without stopping until about 8 p.m., when passengers were allowed to board and disembark trains on the southern end of the platform. The platform was fully reopened just before 9 p.m., although the eastbound track was still blocked by the disabled train.
Camino Pablo, the street that passes under the station and Highway 24, was blocked by emergency vehicles. There was no estimated time to reopen the street.
BART officials said the fire was not related to an earlier reenactment staged by National Transportation Safety Board investigators of an accident Saturday that killed two rail inspectors near the Walnut Creek station.
Staff writer Matthias Gafni contributed to this report.