Update, 12:10 p.m.: The California Highway Patrol says the Caldecott Tunnel bore closed by a car accident and fire this morning reopened at 11:15 a.m.
Original post: In an incident that brings back memories of a deadly episode more than three decades ago, dozens of motorists were forced to flee their cars after a crash and fire in the Caldecott Tunnel early Monday morning.
The California Highway Patrol said no one was hurt in the 6:45 a.m. accident, which involved two cars and closed the southernmost of the tunnel's two eastbound bores. The fire was put out by 8 a.m.
The bore's closure backed up traffic headed from Oakland into Contra Costa County for miles along Highway 24. But the CHP said the bore would be reopened around 11 a.m.
"Caltrans is going to come in and help remove the vehicle, make sure there's no more damage to the bore of Caldecott, and we can get traffic back moving," said CHP Officer Sean Wilkenfeld.
If you've been in the Bay Area for awhile, Monday's incident is an echo of the April 7, 1982, disaster in which a gasoline tanker caught fire after a crash. Seven people were killed.
The memory of that incident, which caused $3 million in damage and closed the tunnel for about six days, has prompted public safety agencies to prepare for fires inside the Caldecott. The CHP said Monday that it conducted its most recent fire drill inside the tunnel a few weeks ago.