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Students Evacuated from Residence Halls After Power Outage

Karina Krul

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~ This is a developing story, please check back for more info ~

Last night, shortly before 10:00 p.m. EST,  power was lost and students were forced to leave Dunham Hall on the University of New Haven main campus.

Many students heard a loud bang, which was originally thought to be thunder or lighnting striking a circuit box. Dunham Hall, an upperclass residence hall, lost power as the circuit box began sparking.

Electricians were out and working on it within the hour, but students were told they needed to find an alternate place to go for the time being. Many residents of the affected area crowded the lobbies of close by residence halls in an attempt to find friends who would let them sleep on a couch, or just a warm area.

William Frazier, First Year Area Coordinator for the Office of Residential Life, was notified of the power outage at approximately 9:53 p.m. EST.

“Within minutes, emergency personnel and first responders for the Office of Residential Life, Campus Police, UNH Facilities, and the local Fire Department were at the scene. While Campus Police officers coordinated safety precautions around the premises and awaited the arrival of United Illuminating, Residential Life personnel went door to door and emailed Dunham residents informing them of the situation,” he said.

Mylar Balloon

According to Campus Police, the explosion was caused by a few mylar balloons getting caught in electrical wires connected to a telephone pole on Ruden Street.

Chief of Police Tracy Mooney believes that this is a one-time thing – a fluke accident.

Students were forced to evacuate due safety concerns because of the lack of power that affected not only lights, but heat, fire alarms, and other technology in the building. Residential Life worked with students to find empty rooms on campus for them to stay in, but also encouraged students to look for friends to stay with for the night.

The University also started making plans to open up the Beckerman Recreation Center for students to occupy. However, around 1:00 a.m., after continuous hours of working, the power came back on in the two buildings.

Mooney added that this was a “very slick operation by police, fire, facilities and reidential life” in bringing the situation to a “sound and safe conclusion.”

 

Students were notified of their ability to return at approximately 11:45 p.m.

Mary Elizabeth Silver, a junior and resident of Dunham Hall, described the experience as startling, especially after the initial strike.

“It kind of sounded like a car crash, one that makes you turn and go ‘oh my god, what happened,'” she said.

Another resident, Ellie Kelly, was disappointed with the lack of communication about the issue, especially not being at her room when the power went out.

“Overall, I think the staff tried to be helpful, but the University was not timely in telling us where we had to be,” she said.

According to Kelly, information from fellow residents was how she was able to prepare to be displaced for the night.

Correction: An earlier version of this report stated that Ruden Street Apartments also lost power.

~ This is a developing story, please check back for more info ~

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Students Evacuated from Residence Halls After Power Outage