A cloud of smoke rises near Durant and California halls on the UC Berkeley campus late Monday afternoon (David Yee via Berkeleyside).
A cloud of smoke rises near Durant and California halls on the UC Berkeley campus late Monday afternoon (David Yee via Berkeleyside).

Update: 6:50 a.m. Tuesday: UC Berkeley officials say most buildings will be open this morning following a power outage and electrical explosion and fire last night. But about a dozen facilities, including the main campus library and a major classroom building, remain closed. Officials say students should assume classes in those buildings — listed below — will be canceled today. Classes in all other buildings will go on as scheduled.

  • Alumni House
  • Bancroft Library
  • California Hall
  • Central Heating Plant
  • Doe Library
  • Durant Hall
  • Dwinelle Hall
  • Dwinelle Annex
  • Edwards Track (East and West areas)
  • Haas Pavilion
  • EH&S Facility

Original post: UC Berkeley officials say a copper theft at the university may have led to a power outage and electrical blast and fire that darkened the campus Monday evening. Several people were hurt in the explosion and fire, near California Hall near the center of campus. Still unknown at midnight Monday: Whether power will be restored in time for classes to resume tomorrow morning. An official campus announcement late Monday says:

Another update is expected to be available by 6 a.m. Tuesday. Updates will continue to be posted on the UC Berkeley home page, the UC Berkeley emergency page, the campus Facebook page and Twitter feed, and the toll-free campus emergency information line at 1-800-705-9998.

KQED News Associate Berkeleyside liveblogged the emergency: Cal: Explosion was two-stories tall, as wide as a two-lane street

The San Francisco Chronicle quotes UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof, who told reporters that the incident could be related to a copper theft discovered last week. Mogulof said the theft was carried out by a crew using heavy equipment:

“The damage that could be seen and assessed was repaired over the weekend, but it now appears that the damage caused by the unknown vandals may have been far more extensive and may have been the cause of what happened,” [Mogulof] said.

Here are a couple of Twitter images of the incident as it unfolded, followed by a Storify of the leading evening coverage of the event.

  • AlgorithmicAnalyst

    There is an epidemic of metal theft in California these days …

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

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