From: The Free Patriot
The power outage was reported around 4:45 p.m. Monday and after emergency generators turned on, smoke could be seen coming from one of them near Bancroft Library.
The outage resulted in all classes being canceled and students were told to suspend lab activity and leave the academic buildings, campus emergency officials said.
But the power system failure then caused an underground explosion and fire in an underground steam tunnel between California and Durant halls at about 6:40 p.m. that shrouded the campus in smoke, university officials said.
Witnesses described the explosion as being a two-story fireball shooting into the air.
At 6:50 p.m. campus emergency messaging thru WarnMe called for all to evacuate campus, according to UC Berkeley Police.
While the campus was evacuated as firefighters worked for the next 90 minutes to put out the fire and then turned their attention to restoring power and campus services.
One student was taken to a hospital with minor injuries from the explosion and two other people were injured but declined to be taken to the hospital, according to Cal spokesperson Dan Mogulof.
By 8:30 p.m., Cal officials reported that the fire had been extinguished.
As of 8 p.m., fire crews were also trying to free 20 people trapped in elevators on campus, said Mogulof. By 8:30 p.m., all of them had been rescued, according to Cal officials.
Mouglof also said that campus officials believed the power outage may have been caused by an attempted theft of copper wire from the campus’ underground power system last week, and that the explosion resulted from damage fto the wiring that went undetected.
“It appears that may have caused far greater damage than initially thought,” said Mogulof.
Power was still out as of 11 p.m. for most of the campus and UC officials were advising people to stay away from the campus until it was restored.-KTVU California
Thirty minutes later, there were reports of ammonia leaks into the dorm rooms of Latimer Hall. Police and Fire experts say that one was almost immediately contained and the dorm evacuated.
It appears that may have caused far greater damage than initially thought,” said Mogulof.
Power was still out as of 11 p.m. for most of the campus and UC officials were advising people to stay away from the campus until it was restored.
Residential halls have reopened with power provided by backup generators, university officials said.
UC Berkeley has not yet announced the status of classes for Tuesday, and students were told to call (800) 705-9998 for updates.- Fox News
Firefighters and law enforcement are urging people to stay away from man hole covers and the toxic smoke. While the initial cause may be from the main power grid, there is no new indication of what is causing the secondary explosions.