Electrical explosion causes dip in power, ongoing outage across campus

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UPDATE: As of 11:50 a.m., power had been restored to all campus buildings, according to a campus press release. The cause of the explosion is unknown and will be investigated, said Christine Shaff, communications director of the campus’s Facilities Services Department, in the press release.

An early-morning explosion in an underground high-voltage vault caused power to go out in buildings across campus Thursday.

Power returned to most buildings briefly after the outage around 8:15 a.m., with the exception of several buildings concentrated mainly in the northeastern section of campus, according Shaff.

As of 10:15 a.m., power had yet to be restored to those buildings, including Evans Hall and many of the engineering buildings, Shaff said. Members of the campus community reported outages in McLaughlin and Stanley halls.

“We’re not sure exactly what happened yet,” Shaff said. “But we’re bringing power back up building by building, which right now is the safest way to do it.”

Shaff said that restoring power to all campus buildings would take a couple of hours.

“I’m hoping they cancel classes,” said UC Berkeley graduate student Lewis Lehe, who was waiting outside McLaughlin Hall around 9:40 a.m.

Yet when Lehe walked upstairs to 203 McLaughlin, the classroom was apparently full.

Shaff had not heard reports about whether any classes had been cancelled due to the outage.

Updates to follow.

Megan Messerly is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @meganmesserly.