Transformer explosion results in power outage

Lack of electricity affects Innovation Center construction


Photo submitted

A small fire and a campus-wide power outage were the result of a transformer explosion on March 30 at 6:15 p.m.

Tory Basile , Reporter

According to Facilities and Technology Coordinator Mrs. Gara Schommer, the technology department is working with Indianapolis Power and Light to determine the cause of a transformer explosion that occurred on campus on March 30 at 6:15 p.m.

Schommer said, “We’re still investigating it right now. We think it’s the transformer that was down there.” Schommer said she predicts that the transformer, located “very deeply in the ground” near the Door 9 entrance by the wrestling room overheated. “We’re still trying to figure out why, but it blew. And it was a really loud explosion,” said Schommer. 

She reported that the fire caused loss of electrical cables – which affected the school’s power on both March 30 and March 31 – but she said no injuries to bystanders or damage to buildings occurred. During a Zoom interview at 12:15 p.m. on March 31, Schommer said, “We went to a total shutdown (of the school’s electricity) at first. Currently, we’re standing with Loretto on, Cunningham on, the (Welch Activity Center) is on and the (Shiel Student Life Center) is on. But Kelly Hall (and) the new Innovation Center, they’re off.”

She continued, “IPL came out last night and they’re the ones who stayed here to work. They’re doing all the work. Because we’re at school (during the day), they will work all throughout the night.” 

According to Schommer, the power is scheduled to be restored throughout the school by 3 p.m. on March 31. 

She also noted that the construction crew had to wear hardhats with headlights to work on March 31, saying, “They’re doing what they can without the heavy machinery that they (would) operate in there. (The explosion) slowed (construction) a little bit, but they’ve adapted.”

Schommer also mentioned that there is no evidence linking the construction efforts to the explosion. 

Schommer said the fire was discovered by the administration, and the explosion was heard by anyone who was outdoors and on campus. “(Chief Operating Officer) Mr. Rolly Landeros, who was here on campus, went running (to the scene of the explosion). The fire department came out immediately, but they could not do anything to it until IPL came out.” 

The explosion and the lack of power that resulted caused the women’s lacrosse game to be shortened, since the team could not play under the lights.

Schommer noted, “Luckily there was a lot of activity on campus that night, and we had people that could take care of it.” She also said she expects all repairs to be completed before classes resume on campus on April 6.