Students dismissed after outagePublished 11:16am Thursday, November 1, 2012
Students at Kennedy Secondary School and the Roosevelt Education Center got a Halloween spook when the lights went out Wednesday afternoon.
All Fergus Falls Public School students were released from class an hour early Wednesday after power went out to Kennedy Secondary School and the Roosevelt Education Center at about 1 p.m.
Power was restored about an hour after the outage, and school began on time this morning.
A small animal crawled into the primary metering cabinet in the smokestack parking lot behind the Roosevelt Education Center (former high school), causing a flash fire and knocking out power, said Otter Tail Power senior communications specialist Stephanie Hoff.
“Some sort of mouse or chipmunk or squirrel tried to get into the equipment where it was nice and warm and protected, but it became a conductor instead,” said school business manager Mark Masten.
There was a small fire, and the Fergus Falls Fire Department responded but the fire was out by the time trucks arrived, Hoff said.
KSS has an emergency generator that powers emergency lights, and the Roosevelt Education Center has battery powered emergency lights, so students were not completely in the dark, Masten said.
Once students were safely released from class, concern was expressed about the ice in the community arena. Without power, there was nothing to keep the ice from melting. Power was restored before this was a problem, Masten said.
According to Hoff, it is not a rare event for rodents to cause power outages.
“We have trouble frequently with small animals,” she said. “This isn’t out of the realm of possibility or even out of the norm.”
Masten said the power outage did not cause any lasting damage, but some were having difficulty getting a computer server back online.
Some of the younger students were disappointed they missed out on their planned afternoon Halloween festivities. These were rescheduled and made up today, said Masten.
School officials had a meeting this morning where they discussed the emergency dismissal. The purpose of the meeting was to address any concerns to determine if the procedure needs to be modified.
“Any time you do this kind of thing, you find out how good your drills are,” Masten said. “It’s always a learning experience. Whether it’s a drill or real life, it’s always good to learn from it.”