Power outages at the University of California, Berkeley caused a large explosion in the center of the campus on Monday evening. One student was hospitalized after sustaining minor burns while several others were treated for injuries at the scene. Fire crews also freed about 20 people who were stuck in dormitory elevators.
Bystanders described the explosion, which occurred in an underground steam tunnel at about 6.30 p.m., as being a two-story fireball shooting into the sky. The blaze was extinguished within two hours.
UC Berkeley evacuated the area and canceled evening classes, warning people to stay away from the main campus until full power was restored. The university’s email system and some power was working again later the same evening.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the power failure, which a UC Berkeley spokesperson said could be related to an attempted underground copper wire theft last week.