Smoke pouring over the barrier wall lining the BART tracks near 11th and D Streets in Union City, California, 6:00 pm, 17 May 2009.
UNION CITY, CA (17 May 2009) - Peter Corless - Just before 6:00 pm, a tall plume of dark smoke could be seen rising over Union City in the East Bay between Decoto and Whipple Roads. The source of the flames was a stand of trees lining the BART tracks near 13th and F Streets.
Flames cresting over the heights of the neighborhood houses consumed the eucalyptus and cypress trees lining the west side of the tracks. The barrier wall near the tracks served as a firebreak, but there were gaps in the wall where chain link fences exposed brush that could serve to spread the fire.
Homeowners on the east sides of the tracks near the intersection of 11th and D Streets doused the bushes near the barrier wall with buckets of water and garden hoses, in attempts to keep the fire from jumping over to threaten their clustered housing units. Crowds gathered on all the lawns to see if the fire would be contained or further endanger their neighborhood.
Within minutes, police and fire units were on the scene. The fire had burned down a long row of trees and advanced north and south through the trees along the tracks. However, the center of the fire had already shown signs of burning through its fuel, leaving charred trunks of blackened trees smouldering.
Flames rising over the barrier wall lining the BART tracks near 11th and D Streets in Union City, California, as seen from near Railroad Avenue, 6:02 pm, 17 May 2009.