At approximately 10:40 a.m. on Oct. 24, multiple academic and residential buildings lost power and Wi-Fi access as the result of a squirrel that got into a transformer and blew a fuse near the Torrey Life Sciences building (TLS) at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus.
Powerlines went down by TLS, causing a circuit to fail, UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
This is the second incident in two weeks at TLS that has resulted in evacuation and cancelled classes. Last week’s incident was a fire in a ground-level laboratory, according to the Daily Campus.
The grid that the lines were connected to serve dozens of buildings on campus, including the Physics Building, Oak Hall, the Monteith Building and residence halls such as Buckley and Shippee.
Though some residence halls are affected, students can remain in their buildings unless otherwise directed, according to a UConn Alert.
An alert sent out to the university community warns all students to evacuate TLS and avoid the area surrounding the building due to an “electrical/hazardous situation.” Non-essential employees should also evacuate all affected buildings, though essential employees are to report to work as normal.
Anyone needing to access a building for urgent research should first contact the UConn Fire Department at 486-4925.
For the remainder of Monday, all classes are cancelled in the following buildings, according to the university alert system:
AG-Biotech Lab Annex
AG-RIC Pesticides Research
AGRIC Storage Building – Farm Area
Agriculture Biotechnology Lab
Avian Research Building
Batterson Hall, A-D
Beef Sheep Barn
Bio Behavioral 4 Annex
Bio Behavioral Sci Building 5
Bio Behavioral Sci Prefab 4
Bio Behavioral Sci, Prefab 1
Bio Behavioral Sci, Prefab 3
Bousfield Psychology Building
Commissary Bakery and Warehouse
Dairy Barn and Silo
Northwest Dining Hall
Environmental Health and Safety
Facilities Operation Building, LeDoyt
Facility Maintenance Storage Building
Farm Depot Headquarters, Horsebarn Hill
High-Tech Poultry Facility
Jones Building Annex
Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts
Kellog Dairy Center
Modular Waste Storage
Nathan Hale Hotel
New Haven Hall
New London Hall
Poultry Breeder House
Poultry Brooder House
Poultry Commercial House
Poultry Contest House
Poultry Feed House
Poultry Teaching House
Ratcliffe Hicks Building
Schenker Lecture Hall
South Campus Residence Halls
School of Fine Arts
Torrey Life Sciences
Towers Dining Facility
Towers Residence Halls
“As I was slaving away on my economics midterm, we were about halfway through when the lights turned off. We th ought it was the motion sensor so we started waving our hands around,” first-semester finance major Jason Ciabattoni said.
Ciabattoni said he was in room 104 of Oak Hall at the time of the outage.
“Buckley dining hall is really bad, they’re using paper plates and cups and the only water they have is cucumber water, and I don’t like cucumber water,” first-semester history and education major Jack Malizia said.
There were also several reports of individuals stuck in elevators during the outage, but all have been rescued without incurring any injuries, Reitz said.
The university sent out an alert message to students that classes in affected buildings would be cancelled for the rest of the day, but all other classes in unaffected buildings will be held as usual.
The university is currently working on switching the affected buildings on the down circuit onto a working circuit until the problem can be repaired, Reitz said.
“The goal is to have the least amount of disruption possible,” Reitz said.
There is also a traffic light out on North Eagleville Road as a result of the outage, and the university is working with police on that matter, Reitz said.
An email from University Technology Services informed students that digital phone sets will not function during the outage and some programmed features on the phones may be lost.
The duration of the outage and time at which the affected buildings will return to normal functions is currently unknown, Reitz said.