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Fire closes Bay Area tunnel as drivers flee smoke

  • Emergency personnel wait at the blocked eastbound entrance to the Caldecott Tunnel, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND — A car fire in the tunnel that links Oakland to other east San Francisco Bay area communities has sent motorists streaming out of their cars on foot and eight people to the hospital to be treated for minor smoke inhalation.

California Highway Patrol Officer Daniel Hill said the fire that broke out in an eastbound lane of the Caldecott Tunnel Friday morning was extinguished within an hour.

Hill says officials used the tunnel's ventilation system to clear the thick smoke that filled the channel and were able to allow traffic back through once drivers returned to their abandoned vehicles.

Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Lipp says six children and two adults were taken to area hospitals.

In 1982, a fire in the Caldecott Tunnel caused by a collision between a gas tanker and several other vehicles left seven people dead.

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