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UC Berkeley Campus Reopens After Blast, Blackout

| October 1, 2013
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A cloud of smoke rises near Durant and California halls on the UC Berkeley campus late Monday afternoon (David Yee via Berkeleyside).

A cloud of smoke rises near Durant and California halls on the UC Berkeley campus late Monday afternoon (David Yee via Berkeleyside).

Update: 6:50 a.m. Tuesday: UC Berkeley officials say most buildings will be open this morning following a power outage and electrical explosion and fire last night. But about a dozen facilities, including the main campus library and a major classroom building, remain closed. Officials say students should assume classes in those buildings — listed below — will be canceled today. Classes in all other buildings will go on as scheduled.

  • Alumni House
  • Bancroft Library
  • California Hall
  • Central Heating Plant
  • Doe Library
  • Durant Hall
  • Dwinelle Hall
  • Dwinelle Annex
  • Edwards Track (East and West areas)
  • Haas Pavilion
  • EH&S Facility

Original post: UC Berkeley officials say a copper theft at the university may have led to a power outage and electrical blast and fire that darkened the campus Monday evening. Several people were hurt in the explosion and fire, near California Hall near the center of campus. Still unknown at midnight Monday: Whether power will be restored in time for classes to resume tomorrow morning. An official campus announcement late Monday says:

Another update is expected to be available by 6 a.m. Tuesday. Updates will continue to be posted on the UC Berkeley home page, the UC Berkeley emergency page, the campus Facebook page and Twitter feed, and the toll-free campus emergency information line at 1-800-705-9998.

KQED News Associate Berkeleyside liveblogged the emergency: Cal: Explosion was two-stories tall, as wide as a two-lane street

The San Francisco Chronicle quotes UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof, who told reporters that the incident could be related to a copper theft discovered last week. Mogulof said the theft was carried out by a crew using heavy equipment:

“The damage that could be seen and assessed was repaired over the weekend, but it now appears that the damage caused by the unknown vandals may have been far more extensive and may have been the cause of what happened,” [Mogulof] said.

Here are a couple of Twitter images of the incident as it unfolded, followed by a Storify of the leading evening coverage of the event.

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.
  • AlgorithmicAnalyst

    There is an epidemic of metal theft in California these days …