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Transformer explosion causes evacuations, power outages

A transformer at the Oaks residence hall parking lot behind Barkley Building blew up in two explosions Thursday afternoon causing power outages and evacuations across the east side of campus.

Both the Barkley Building and the Barkley Annex were evacuated, Matthew Luna from the ULV Evacuation Team said.

“We were right in the middle of class and then we heard something, and I looked out the window and there was an explosion and a blue surge of light,” David Asbra, freshman political science major, said.

Students from the Honors 103 class in the Barkley Building were some of the first to go outside after the first explosion.

“There was a bright blue light and somebody goes ‘Aliens!’ and we looked out the window, and then we see the electrical wire on fire and the tree was on fire,” said Kevin Norman, junior liberal arts major.

A student dressed in a Spiderman costume came out of the Oaks and entertained the large crowd that had formed.

Zachary Robertson, freshman English major, called 911 at 3:30 after the first explosion.

“It was two small fires in the outlying branches on the trees,” Robertson said.

The La Verne Police Depart­ment closed off the Oaks parking lot, while the La Verne Fire Department crew put out the blaze. At 4:05 p.m. the LVPD lifted the evacuation order and reopened the parking lot.

Kevin Wilton, an engineer for the La Verne Fire Department, said as of 5 p.m. Thursday, the cause of the explosions was still under investigation by Southern California Edison.

“They removed the power source and were able to disconnect the wires to repair the ones that were damaged,” Wilton said.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, power in the Oaks was still out.

—Mariela Patron and Katie Madden

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