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Blackout disrupts power from nearly 7,000 homes in Syracuse University area

Emma Fierberg | Asst. Photo Editor

Many residents of the East Neighborhood and South Campus were without power Thursday night. The power outage lasted more than 3 hours and was restored at 9:50 p.m.

UPDATED: Jan. 23, 10:16 p.m.

On Thursday evening, a blackout swept across parts of main campus, the East neighborhood and parts of South Campus, taking out power from nearly 7,000 homes in the city of Syracuse.

National Grid reported that the blackout started at 6:06 p.m., said Steve Brady, a spokesperson for National Grid. As of 9:50 p.m., National Grid reported that power to all Syracuse University properties and the East neighborhood had been restored, according to a Syracuse University release.

Syracuse police said the blackout was related to a utility pole fire on Comstock and Jamesville avenues, about half a mile away from the Manley Field House on South Campus. Street lights along Comstock Avenue near the field house were also down.

Chase Gaewski | Managing Editor

A Department of Public Safety officer directs oncoming traffic at the intersection of Comstock Avenue and University Place.

The transformer blew out around 6:10 p.m., said Sgt. Gary Bulinski, of the Syracuse Police Department. He described it as a minor fire that the Syracuse Fire Department responded to and dealt with shortly, adding that they eventually let National Grid handle the situation.

National Grid was not notified about the utility pole fire, Brady said. He said National Grid reported that a problem in the electrical substation on Rockcut Road caused the power outage, but the source of the problem is unknown.

The affected area stretched from Euclid and Comstock avenues to all of South Campus, with the exception of the Sky Halls, Slocum Heights and the Goldstein Student Center, which ran on a back-up generator.

Along with those residential areas, apartments in the Park Point complex were also without power, said Will Roth, a residential adviser in DellPlain Hall.

Roth added that the Schine Student center, Ernie Davis Hall and DellPlain Hall all had power.

JD Ross, the School of Information Studies director of communications, tweeted that buildings north of campus, including Marshall Street, remained unaffected by the blackout.

Chase Gaewski | Managing Editor

Flares mark the intersection of Comstock Avenue and University Place, while the traffic light remained powerless.

Nick Townsend, a freshman public relations major, was working at the front desk of Goldstein when the outage occurred. 

“Kids started coming in and they were really loud saying, ‘the power’s out, the power’s out!’” Townsend said. “This is definitely the busiest I’ve ever seen Goldstein.”

Townsend said someone talked to food services in the building as well to prepare for more students coming in to eat. He added that several phone calls had come in asking for info.

Students react to Syracuse’s blackout

Junior economics major Samuel Mckee lives on Small Road and was in his apartment when the power went out. He said the lights flickered and he thought it was just a light bulb going out, but then he noticed his computer had stopped charging.

T.J. Coleman, a junior aerospace engineering major, said he was just walking up to his apartment on Chinook Road when the power went out.

Both Coleman and Mckee described the situation as “irritating.”

Ivy Ma, a sophomore architecture student, said she was at Wegmans with a friend when the power went out. She said her roommate messaged her that the power had gone out, and she went straight to Goldstein.

“I was thinking maybe when I got back everything would be alright, but when I got back it wasn’t,” Ma said.

Department of Public Safety Detective CJ McCurty said nothing has been confirmed for what the cause of the outage was, but he said DPS began receiving calls shortly after the area lost power.

He added that many DPS officers had to start directing traffic because street lights were out in the area as well.

McCurty also said power at the Nottingham Plaza, including a gas station and Tops Grocery Store, had lost power as well.

Jennifer Steller, a senior broadcast and digital journalism major, said she was hoping the power would return soon, especially because of the temperature, but added that it’s important to keep perspective on the situation.

“You can’t really blame anyone because power outages can happen with this weather,” Steller said. “It’s important to be flexible when these things happen.”

–Asst. News Editor Ellen Meyers contributed reporting to this article. 

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