Blackout Part II

Story By: Rampage Staff

The Fresno City College campus went black for the second time this academic year just before noon on Monday. Students flooded the hallways and grass areas as they left their evacuated buildings.

Students in the Language Arts building were heard saying, “Not again.”

There was an explosion at a PG&E substation that left 27,700 residents without any power, a spokesperson from the State Center Community College District said. This included FCC.

Jeff Smith from PG&E told the Fresno Bee that a cat crawled into the substation near Ashlan and West avenues and sparked the chain reaction.

“Another cat or squirrel sacrificed itself for us to have a day off,” FCC student Raisha Pacella said.

The power outage extended from Blackstone to Bethel and from Herndon to Downtown Fresno.

Some teachers chose to continue with their lectures. Blackouts, it seems, are almost commonplace. “The lights went out, class was almost over, but our teacher kept talking,” said Erica Perez who was in the Sociology Department. “Then another teacher told us to get out.”

Allen Graham moved his weekly bible study from the senate chambers to the Veteran’s Memorial near the Free Speech area.

“We weren’t going to let the devil get in our way,” Graham said.

President Ned Doffoney delivered his decision to cancel the rest of afternoon classes at approximately 12:05 p.m.

After the blackout last semester, Doffoney said, the college learned to better facilitate the exit of disabled students from the upper levels of department buildings.

Using the blue evacuation chairs, firefighters removed each disabled student one by one from each department. Norman Norwood, a second year Psychology student, was trapped on the third floor of the Math and Science Building. Five firefighters assisted him to the ground floor.

Kimra Woodson waited patiently for the fire crews to help her down the stairs after she left her business class. “The administration was very kind and thoughtful,” she said.

The perpetually hectic parking lot became worse – even by FCC standards. Police Officers barricaded the entrances to the parking lots and directed the gridlocked traffic out onto McKinley and Blackstone Avenues.

Some students stood stranded while their parents circled the campus, unable to pick up their children.

Classes are canceled indefinitely, Doffoney said at noon.