Dump truck accident causes power outage on East Bank

Clocks in seven buildings along the north side of Northrop Mall froze at 27 seconds after noon Tuesday following a construction accident that severed critical power lines.
A dump truck fell into a construction pit outside Murphy Hall, cutting electricity to the East Bank buildings.
Power might not be restored until tomorrow morning, said Dennis Hartzell, foreman of the University’s electrical systems.
“It may be out until late today,” Hartzell said. “Like midnight is late today.”
No one was injured in the accident, he said.
The truck was pulled out of the pit soon after the accident and the scene was cleared, a University Police officer said.
Ford, Murphy, Vincent, Morrill and Pillsbury halls were all without power Tuesday, as were the Tate Lab of Physics, the Telecommunications Building and the Church Street Garage.
The buildings will run off temporary power for about a day before permanent power is returned, Hartzell said.
Inside the affected buildings people could only see silhouettes of one another in the hallways and stairwells were black except for their red exit lights. Fax lines rang and rang without a machine to print the sender’s message.
“It’s pretty dark up here,” said Andrea Turner, the regents’ corporate secretary, referring to her second-floor office in Morrill Hall.
Using only daylight to see, Turner sat perplexed behind a darkened monitor as she tried to plan a Rochester site visit for October’s regents meeting with only hand-written notes and a telephone. Most of her computerized tools — including her calendar — were useless after the power outage.
While some University employees and administrators worked with auxiliary or natural lighting, many went home early.
One staff member held a meeting outside. Several others in University President Mark Yudof’s office gathered by light streaming in from the windows, said Joyce Wascoe, Yudof’s assistant.
“We are glad it happened on a day the president wasn’t here because he’d probably still be holding meetings,” said Wascoe.
At 11:30 a.m., institutional relations staff let Yudof’s office know the power would be going down, giving them time to save their work, Wascoe said.
Once dusk comes, Wascoe said, the whole building should be empty.