A chilled water coil in an air handler ruptured, creating a flood Tuesday afternoon in the Frederick Douglass Building which shorted out a power transformer, blacking out parts of the River Campus. Three Rochester fire trucks responded along with Facilities.”This time of year we bring chilled water back into the buildings,” Director of Facilities Jeff Foster said. “[Tuesday], chilled water was turned on to Frederick Douglass, everything checked out and was deemed to be in good [working order]. Two hours later the pipes burst. It tripped the circuit breakers, just what it was supposed to do.”The Frederick Douglass Building, Meliora Hall, Rush Rhees Library, the Interfaith Chapel, all fraternity houses, Hoeing, Lovejoy, Gilbert, and Tiernan Halls, Hopeman Engineering Building and the Medical Center Annex all lost power at 4:25 p.m. Most buildings had the power restored by 6 p.m.”We bought a new transformer from Philadelphia yesterday,” he said. “[Wednesday afternoon they were] taking the old one out and putting the new one in.”The Frederick Douglass Building was closed yesterday at 9 p.m. and all electrical power was shutoff half an hour later in order to install a new transformer. The emergency generators will then be removed. Since the power outage, the Frederick Douglass Building has been running on emergency generators powered by diesel fuel. The building will be re-opened at 5:00 today.Normal wear and tear on the aged unit weakened existing infrastructure, Facilities Area Manager Eris Oleksyn said. Costs are expected to be around $25,000 to $30,000, according to Foster.The power outage was caused by a failure of outdated equipment.”The majority of our [electrical] systems on the river campus, though well maintained, are old,” Foster said.Students all over campus were affected by the power outage.”I was in the middle of an experiment when it happened,” senior Rachel Greenstein said. “Now I have to reschedule with the subjects. [It is] just a pain.”Many students also were affected because they could not use their student ID cards for services like printing and dining.”Every two minutes someone comes up and asks, ‘Can I use my card to buy this or that? Does the coffee machine work?'” Java City employee and senior Keron Twum said. “And I tell them, well, no. There is no power.”He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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