Press Release: MOFD Respond to Caldecott Tunnel Vehicle Fire

Posted: 01-Nov-2013

Moraga-Orinda Fire District
1280 Moraga Way
Moraga, CA  94556
Contact: Dennis Rein, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator; 925-258-4525 ext. 575
Release Date:  November 1, 2013

ORINDA – At 10:17 AM the Moraga-Orinda Fire District (MOFD), along with units from the Oakland Fire Department, responded to a vehicle fire in the number one bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. Traffic in the 3,610 foot-long bore was flowing from Oakland to Orinda at the time. A 1988 Acura Integra became fully involved with fire and blocked one of the two lanes approximately 700 feet from the tunnel's Orinda exit. Vehicles quickly backed up behind the fire and restricted fire engine access from the Oakland side.
Caldecott Tunnel Operations staff activated the tunnel's exhausters to pull smoke away from motorists stranded west of the fire. An MOFD engine entered the tunnel against the flow of traffic as CHP worked with Cal Trans to evacuate motorists back through the west portal of the tunnel.

The solo occupant of the vehicle was able to escape unharmed. The incident triggered a "Multi-Casualty Incident Alert" which put area hospitals on stand-by and brought extra transport ambulances and an AC Transit bus to the scene to transport potential victims. Eight patients were transported to local hospitals because of exposure to smoke.

This incident happened as the MOFD and Oakland Fire were practicing multi-agency responses to the Caldecott Tunnel in preparation for the opening of the fourth bore later this month. First arriving MOFD Fire Captain Michael Lacy stated, "firefighting operations inside the tunnel were well coordinated between the Oakland and MOFD resources, CHP and Cal Trans."

All bores reopened at 11:30 AM.