Transformer explosion knocks out power to JWU campus - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Transformer explosion knocks out power to JWU campus

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By: Melissa Toupin

As students headed to their first day of classes at Johnson and Wales University Monday, they had a good reason to be tired. An early morning transformer explosion outside one of the dorms on the downtown Providence campus sent the 1,000 freshmen out on the streets. They were evacuated around 5 am.

"I just jumped out of bed. I didn't know what was going on. it surprised me, like, wicked bad," said student Drew Babiane.

The explosion happed in an underground transformer owned by National Grid. Utility crews had to shut down a large section of Pine Street as they worked to fix the problem.

Students told ABC6 News that they slept in the quad or waited at nearby restaurants for updates.

"Eventually we got to go back in and get our things, but we had to take all of our stuff for the rest of the day with us because we weren't sure when we were going to get back in," said student Harley Whittaker.

The campus has back up generators which did kick in, but both Snowden and McNulty Halls had to be checked for carbon dioxide and any structural issues before students could return.

No classes were delayed and all normal activities at the University went on as planned.

A spokesperson for National Grid says their crews were not in the area at the time of the explosion, but that a city crew was working near by. The explosion heavily damaged several cables that will have to be repaired or replaced. That could take several days.

In the meantime National Grid says back up generators would be brought in, and that the campus would not see any power interruptions.

(C) WLNE-TV 2013

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