Power outage leaves Chapman, parts of Orange in dark

Power outage

Chapman and parts of Orange were affected by a power outage May 10. Students stand in the dark in the Leatherby Libraries, one of the buildings affected by the outage. Photos by Bonnie Cash

Chapman and parts of Orange were affected by a power outage May 10 that started at around 6 p.m., said Victor Arteaga, a Chapman Fire and Life Safety officer, causing at least one of Chapman’s emergency generators to start almost immediately.

Power wasn’t restored on campus until around 7:35 p.m., and it is not yet known what caused the outage.

The Orange police and fire departments are working with an unnamed power company to restore power to the affected areas, wrote Jamie Ceman, Chapman’s vice president of strategic marketing and communications, in a university-wide email sent out at about 8:30 p.m.

The city-wide power outage affected about two square blocks around campus, Arteaga told The Panther.

Traffic lights near the university flashed red during the outage. Sahar Emtiaz, a freshman biological sciences major, said she was driving back from her internship at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange when she noticed the growing back-up of cars from the blinking traffic lights on Walnut Avenue and Glassell Street. Although the drive to the dorms took longer than usual, she said, she’s not upset about how the power outage was handled.

“It’s not every day that these things happen,” she said.

power outage

At least one of Chapman’s emergency generators turned on immediately after the outage.

During the outage, emergency gates in Argyros Forum blocked entry to the second and third floors. In Pralle-Sodaro Hall, fire doors – which are double doors made out of material to prevent fires from spreading in residence halls – were closed and a loud, shrill sound could be heard on the first floor, Emtiaz said.

Ceman said that Public Safety was dispatched around campus.

“We have facilities checking all the elevators and anything else that could be going on,” Arteaga said.   

Though the power outage lasted about an hour and a half, the baccalaureate service featuring “Dear White People” writer and Chapman alumnus Justin Simien in the Fish Interfaith Center was not postponed, according to the email. However, a Heartbeat of Mexico event on women in mariachi was cancelled. The event will be rescheduled, wrote Ruben Espinoza, the event’s organizer, in an email to The Panther.

This is a developing story. Follow The Panther as we continue reporting.