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Power out at Collinss

Sept. 24, 1996

Power out at Collins

By LaShondra Holmes

Lariat Reporter

Students eager to eat lunch approached the front entrance of Collins Residence Hall and saw a sign posted that said, 'Due to a power outage, Collins will be closed for lunch but Memorial and Penland will be open.'

A power outage at Collins Residence Hall left the entire building without electricity for almost three hours Monday.

Lynn Gunter, director of Collins, said sometime between 9 and 9:30 a.m. a transformer blew out behind the building. Consequently, a couple of motors that provide air conditioning blew out in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) room, which left parts of the building without air.

Gunter said the girls complained of a burning smell.

Chinyere Ukanwa, a Houston freshman, said she was washing her face in the shower. To her surprise, she said she opened her eyes to 'all black.'

After she found her way back to her room, Ukanwa, who lives on the third floor, said she smelled the burning smell, also.

'I thought the building was on fire,' Ukanwa said.

Gunter said that last year there were two power outages at Collins. Raccoons that live in the gutters frequently get on the wires and cause the transformers to blow.

However, the reason for Monday's power outage has not been confirmed. The University Physical Plant did not return two messages left Monday afternoon.

'We were right in the middle

of preparing lunch, but nothing went to waste,' said John McRae, assistant director of Collins Dining Hall.

McRae said the food was taken to Memorial Dining Hall.

Becky Nystrom, a Houston freshman, said she detoured to Memorial and the line was all the way out to the street.

The additional number of students that Memorial had to accommodate for did not cause any problems. Bruce Briggs, assistant director of Memorial Dining Hall, said that he and the Memorial staff were aware of the power outage.

'Everybody worked together and everything went smoothly,' Briggs said.

Approximately 600 women reside in Collins, but not one person called to complain about the situation, said Wei Li Fan, a resident's assistant and a Plano sophomore.

'Everyone's been really cooperative and patient about everything,' Fan said.

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