High Winds Cause Fall Semester’s Second Campus-Wide Power Outage and Fire

Students walk past fallen trees behind the Kellogg Center during the power outage on Saturday. This is the second time high winds have caused destruction and power outages on campus this semester (Photo by Bonnie Lord).

This Saturday at approximately 5 p.m., Albion College experienced its second campus-wide power outage of the year.

Winds had been high throughout the day, peaking at around 24 mph in the afternoon according to weather.com. In the hours leading up the outage, lights flickered occasionally in several campus buildings. 

“Thousands of people in Michigan were affected by outages during the storm,” a facilities team member said over a phone call Monday. “Consumers Energy said it was the wind. We haven’t found any specific destruction that caused it.”

Albion College Campus Safety issued an update email at 6:17 p.m. confirming the outage and warning students about storm damage on campus.

Several trees were down, including one behind the Kellogg Center and one in the center of the Quad. The plastic sheeting on the Hoop House at the student farm had been blown completely from the frame. 

Power lines could also be seen popping and sparking outside the Sustainability House on East Porter Street.

While a few friends and I watched the lines sparking, an Albion College Facilities team member assured us that maintenance had notified Consumers Energy.

“You might want to stay away from that,” the facilities team member said. 

Three days after the initial outage on Tuesday, those same power lines caught on fire. Campus Safety asked that pedestrians and vehicles avoid East Porter Street and South Mingo Street while the downed power line was being repaired. The Sustainability House and its residents are safe. 

On Saturday, a second email update from Campus Safety was sent at 7:35 p.m., estimating that power would be restored by noon the next day. Power returned to Campus by 10 p.m. that night, only five hours after the initial blackout.

Phone lines stayed down until 6:25 p.m. the next day.

Chicago first-year students Dalyla Cordero and Anias Jimenez said that the college’s response had improved with the second outage.

“I think they handled it slightly better than last time, because last time they were like it might be back by Friday and then it was on the next morning,” Cordero said. 

When the power was restored on Saturday night, students could be seen cheering outside Wesley Hall.

Some elevators are still down in Ferguson and Baldwin as the campus is still recovering from the power outage. As more problems caused by the outage come to light, students are learning more and more about how Albion College deals with the dark.

About Bonnie Lord 40 Articles
Bonnie Lord is a sophomore from Alma, Michigan and is an environmental science major at Albion College. She investigates questions of infrastructure, water quality and the changing relationship the community of Albion navigates with the environment. She enjoys bird watching, reading, and dismantling the patriarchy. Contact Bonnie via email at BFL10@albion.edu

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