Author Topic: UC Berkeley campus evacuated after explosion; injuries reported (electrical)  (Read 292 times)

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Offline happyg

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A massive explosion that followed a power outage on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley campus resulted in at least one person being hospitalized and forced a campuswide evacuation Monday night.

The explosion was reported near Sather Tower shortly before 7 p.m., reported. Witnesses described the blast as being a two-story fireball shooting into the air.

"The explosion was about two stories high and as wide as a two-lane street," UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told the Associated Press. "We're very fortunate there were no serious injuries."

Campus emergency officials said the entire campus was being evacuated. The cause of the power outage was being investigated late Monday, Berkeley acting fire Chief Gil Dong told

Fire crews freed about 20 people trapped in dormitory elevators across campus as a result of the outage, according to Mogulof.

The power outage was reported around 4:30 p.m. Monday and led to classes being canceled as students were told to suspend all lab activities, Mogulof said.

About a half-hour later, authorities reported an apparent ammonia leak in a room at Latimer Hall. It was contained almost immediately, campus officials said.

That was followed by an explosion in an electrical vault near California Hall shortly before 7 p.m., Dong said. It occurred as crews tried to turn the power back on campus.

The blast may have been caused by an attempted underground copper wire theft on campus last week, Mogulof said.

"It appears that may have caused far greater damage than initially thought," Mogulof said.

But officials said the cause of the other incidents, and whether any or all of them were related, had not immediately been determined.

It's still unclear whether classes will resume on Tuesday.

"I have midterms tomorrow as do a bunch of other students on campus. A lot of students don't have power to study or get their laptops on or anything like that," Kelsie Carlson, a freshman, told KTVU.

Campus officials said late Monday that they were slowly trying to restore power across campus in stages as campus e-mail was restored and other systems were coming online.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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