Damaged equipment cause of Ferris’ power loss

EXIT: Big Rapids Department of Public Safety firefighters respond to Henderson Hall on Wednesday at Ferris Sate University for a fire alarm report. The smell of electrical wires burning and the smell of smoke was the cause of the alarm. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

EXIT: Big Rapids Department of Public Safety firefighters respond to Henderson Hall on Wednesday at Ferris Sate University for a fire alarm report. The smell of electrical wires burning and the smell of smoke was the cause of the alarm. (Pioneer photo/Lonnie Allen)

Some classes, events canceled for today; crews repair high-voltage system

BIG RAPIDS — Power outages on Ferris State University’s west campus is canceling some classes for today.

The issue is a high-voltage switchgear that includes damaged cables leading to and from the device, according to a press release from Ferris.

Physical plant staff, assisted by Consumers Energy and an external contractor who has experience with the university’s high-voltage electrical systems, continue to work to restore power to academic buildings and residence halls that have been without power since early Wednesday morning.

Because crews will be working through the night to make necessary repairs, university officials have decided to cancel some classes for today.

Canceled classes include those held in the Allied Health and Michigan College of Optometry buildings, Creative Arts Center and West Commons (Hospitality Management Program). Classes held in Bishop Hall and pharmacy building will be moved to other classrooms across campus. Those students should contact their faculty members for further information. Faculty and academic staff in areas where classes have been canceled should not report to work.

The Rock Café dining facility remains fully operational, while the Westside Café served a barbecue dinner Wednesday night for students. It also will serve a continental breakfast Thursday and sandwiches for lunch.

Some classes were canceled on Wednesday after the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety responded to multiple fire alarms beginning early in the morning.

DPS responded to five fire alarms on the campus beginning at 2:30 a.m. through Wednesday afternoon, according to firefighter Sean Wethington.

“(Ferris officials) have been dealing with multiple power issues in this area of campus,” Wethington said. “The alarms are related to smells of smoke or the smell of burning electrical.”

According to Ferris officials, power went out shortly after midnight on much of the west side of campus affecting Bond, Cramer, Henderson and Puterbaugh halls as well as West Campus Apartments and the West Campus Community Center.

A group of students who were evacuated from Henderson Hall Wednesday afternoon, gathered under a tree waiting to hear  information about when they could return to their rooms.

“I was sleeping before my evening classes start and I was told we had to leave the building,” said 18-year-old Ferris student Angela Lovegrove. “This is the third time the power has gone out over here.”

Lovegrove was with three other students, who were discussing the power outages.

“The power was acting weird,” said 18-year-old Ferris student Mackenzie Main. “We would have a little bit of power, or the lights would dim, or we could run our phone chargers only.”

On Wednesday, classes and activities were canceled in Bishop Hall and the Allied Health, optometry and pharmacy buildings. Non-essential employees in those buildings were told not to report to work. All other university events continued as scheduled.

The faulty electrical lines and no Internet for most of Wednesday had Lovegrove frustrated and unsure what the night will bring.

“There is no Internet and we are not sure when we are allowed back in the rooms,” she said. “I think it will be an interesting night.

According to officials, Ferris’ Department of Public Safety has stepped up its foot and car patrols in the areas affected by the outage.

At this time, it is not known when the University community can expect power to be restored to west campus.

For more information on how the power outage may affect you, visit Ferris’ homepage at ferris.edu.

 

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Posted by Lonnie Allen

Lonnie is the Pioneer's city/county reporter. He also coordinates the Gardens and Growers page. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8328 or by e-mail at lallen@pioneergroup.com.

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