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Minor quake stops trains, rattles nerves in Oakland area


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OAKLAND, California (CNN) -- An earthquake measuring 3.9 rumbled through the San Francisco Bay area Thursday evening, briefly stopping transit trains and rattling residents' nerves in the region.

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The National Earthquake Information Center's Web site said the quake struck about 6:40 p.m. PDT (9:40 p.m. EDT) and was centered near Oakland, about 10 miles east of San Francisco. About an hour later, a 3.0 aftershock rattled the area.

All trains on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system were stopped for 10 minutes immediately after the quake as officials conducted rail inspections to make sure there was no damage, a BART spokeswoman told CNN in a telephone interview.

The trains have resumed normal operations, she said.

People in Richmond, California, were already on edge after a small fire broke out at the Chevron refinery ahead of the earthquake, prompting a warning from the Contra Costa Health Services.

"Go inside, close all windows and doors, turn off all heaters, air conditioners and fans," the community warning system message said. "If not using the fireplace, close fireplace dampers and vents and cover cracks around doors and windows with tape or damp towels."

Refinery officials did not immediately return calls for comment, but Richmond police and the Contra Costa Health Services said the fire was quickly contained and the order lifted.

"There were no emissions from the refinery that were a danger to the public," said CCHS spokesman Randy Sawyer in a telephone interview.


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