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Failed transformers caused yesterday’s power outages

By Cassandra Russo

At approximately 12:20 p.m. yesterday, the FSU campus and the surrounding neighborhood

experienced two power outages, leaving at least three students trapped in campus elevators.

“The first [outage] was caused by a failed transformer on Salem End or Winter Street,” Associate Vice President of Facilities and Capital Planning Warren Fairbanks said. He added he was unsure of exactly how widespread the outage was.

Fairbanks said a failed transformer on Mayflower Circle, located behind the McCarthy College Center, caused the second outage. Both transformers are owned by NSTAR. However, Fairbanks was unsure exactly what caused either failure.

When NSTAR workers arrived at the scene, they discovered “there were three faulted cut-outs, which were replaced by 2 p.m. There was no fire,” said NSTAR spokesperson Jerry McDermit in a phone interview with a Gatepost reporter.

According to FSU police officer Sgt. Robert Barrette, a female student was in a Corinne Hall Towers elevator when the outage occurred. The elevator stopped between the eighth and ninth floors.

“After Towers called us, the elevator maintenance company was reached. They responded in under 10 minutes. Everything went perfect,” Barrette said.

A female student with the Twitter handle @sincerelymay_ tweeted, “Stuck in the Towers elevator during the power outage @FSU_RamProblems #partyofone #gotwaterjustincase” and “Why is it so cold in the


Senior Lauren Hayes tweeted that she can “finally say I’ve been stuck in an elevator #fsuproblems.”

A Twitter handle under the name of Julie Ciannavei tweeted, “Love when the power goes out while I’m in the elevator, great way to start my day @FSU_RamProblems.”

According to Sodexo Retail Manager Susan Romani, “The power outage kills our gas, so for safety reasons we have to go back and re-fire all the pilot lights.”

A process that usually takes 10-15 minutes, took approximately 30 minutes because there was no gas Pow to the grills. “Facilities came and took care of it,” Romani said.

Sophomore nutrition major Jenna Scully was at the McCarthy Center Starbucks when the outage occurred. She said, “The lights went off. ... Everyone was acting goofy and then the lights turned back on.”

FSU alumnus and employee of nearby Summit Ski and Snowboard Jake Luth said that the outage affected business at the store. “The power went out twice – about 30 seconds each time. Everything shut down and we couldn’t do business with a customer because of it.”

Senior education major Dan White said, “People got a little excited for nothing.”

Senior Spanish major Elizabeth Juneau said the power went out twice at the Athletic Center. “I almost died both times on the treadmill because it came to a complete stop.”

Sophomore business major Ryan Goodwin was in the library when the power went out. “The Wi-Fi went down and it screwed me up on Blackboard.”

Undeclared sophomore Marco Susi said the outage happened in two of his classes and caused a “little stop” in his classes and it “wasn’t too great.”

Freshman Reid Burks-Oelerich said, “The lights went out for only a couple of seconds. ... One kid was complaining that the lights went out while he was in the bathroom. ... I guess it was harder for him to use the bathroom in the dark.”

Freshman computer science major Jack Egan said he was in Chinese class when the outage occurred. “It ruined my Go Fish game. I couldn’t see the cards.”

[Editors note: News Editors Kaila Braley and Michael B. Murphy and Assistant News Editor James M. Sheridan Jr. contributed to this article].



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