The University of California at Berkeley was evacuated Monday after a power outage trapped 20 students in dormitory elevators and an explosion sent one person to the hospital.
Class was cancelled at 4:30 p.m. Monday, when the power went out on campus. Around 5 p.m. an apparent ammonia leak was reported in Latimer Hall. Then at 7 p.m. an explosion underground rocked California hall.
“The explosion was about two stories high and as wide as a two-lane street,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. “We’re very fortunate there were no serious injuries.”
The explosion took place in an underground utility vault. Three people received minor burns in the explosion. Two refused treatment.
Mogulof said the explosion might have been caused by theft of underground copper wiring. School officials thought the damage had been repaired on Sunday.
“It appears that may have caused far greater damage than initially thought,” Mogulof said. “It’s more extensive.”
Students stuck in elevators had to be rescued by firefighters.
It is unclear whether class will resume Tuesday. Midterms began at the school this week.
“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-TV.