The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Power outage disrupts campus Sunday night


Students found their homework and other plans disrupted by a power outage Sunday night. At 6:35 p.m., lights across campus went out. The outage was caused when a transformer along Snelling Avenue by the Macalester Athletic and Recreation Center caught fire and exploded. Power was restored by a team from Xcel Energy at 8:10 p.m., and students were allowed to return to the dorms around 8:20.

The Campus Center and the Library were the only buildings to remain open. Limited power was restored in the both seconds after the outage as both buildings’ backup generators began running.

Emergency lights lit the halls of the dorms and academic buildings, but Bigelow Hall Director Michael Klitzke said that an evacuation of the dorms was ordered because the lights’ battery power would run out quickly.

Residential Assistants were informed of the situation before 7 p.m. and began passing the information along to residents to evacuate the residence halls and assemble in the Campus Center.

The library was closed during the evacuation of the dorms because of reports of smoke in the building.

“We think it was just the generator kicking in,” Assistant Director of Facilities Management Terry Gorman said. The library reopened when power to campus was restored.

St. Paul police and firefighters blocked off the section of Snelling Avenue between Goodrich and St Clair Avenues. Curious student who flocked to see the destroyed transformer were turned back by police.

Police left the scene about 45 minutes after the explosion when it became clear that the power lines presented no immediate danger to pedestrians or vehicles. A repair crew from Xcel Energy arrived shortly thereafter.

–Matt Day and Amy Ledig

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