By Ben SuazoCOPY CHIEF
Axinn Library and Hammer Lab were evacuated early Friday afternoon following an electrical shortage in the basement.
According to University Relations, the shortage occurred at 1:38 p.m. Immediately following loss of power in the building, the Unispan entrance through Axinn Library was temporarily closed but the passage was open again by 2:15 p.m.
“There was a pipe burst and it flooded a power panel in the library and it shorted out, and that’s when the lights went out and the power went out. And because it’s a main power panel, [the power] company has to come in and fix it, which is why there is a delay in getting the power back on,” said Karla Schuster, who is assistant vice president of University Relations.
Stephen Siu is a commuting student and senior accounting major who was disappointed to find that Axinn’s study spaces were not available
“For people who need to study, especially for a commuter, the library and [Hammer Lab] are the only things that are open,” said Siu.
Officially, University Relations said that the incident did not present a danger to anyone and that the flooding did not cause any damage outside of the power panel that had caused the power outage. The leakage from the pipe was stopped before any further damage could occur.
“There is no danger to anything in the library, books or materials of any kind,” said Schuster.
Schuster, who has been with University Relations for four years, said that she has not witnessed an incident like this one at the library before.
“There were certainly power outages — I’m sure there have been power outages over the years — but nothing [like this incident] that I can remember. This is an inconvenience, but there is no safety concern at this point,” said Schuster.
“We were at our offices, which are downstairs in the basement of Axinn below the Hammer Lab, and the lights and power went off, and some lights back on because we have an emergency generator in the building,” said Schuster. “We were all waiting to see if the power went back on, and then the fire alarm went off so we evacuated.”
Aijiao Yan, a first-year graduate known as April, wanted to use the library to return a book. “I just came here and there were so many people outside the library” the accounting major said. “I asked someone ‘what happened?’ and they said ‘maybe a fire alarm was ringing’ and all the students went out.”
University Relations anticipates that the problem will be solved quickly and the library will reopen at 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
Calkins Lab will be open until midnight.
Additional reporting by Sean Williams.