Transformer explosion leaves JWU campus evacuated

Melissa Toupin

As students head to their first day of classes at Johnson and Wales University, they have a good reason to be tired.

An early morning transformer explosion outside one of the dorms on the downtown providence campus sent the one thousand Freshman out on the streets.

The campus was evacuated around 5 o'clock this morning.

“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 happened in an underground transformer owned by national grid.

Black soot covered the sidewalk and dorm walls.

Utility crews had to shut down a large section of Pine Street as they worked to fix the problem.

Students 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 Hall had to be checked for carbon dioxide and any structural issues before students could return.

“So once that all checked out the fire chief gave the go–ahead to allow our students back into the building,” said Michael Quinn, Executive Director of Campus Safety.

No classes were delayed and all normal activities went on as planned