Electrocuted squirrel sparks power outage, 22 campus buildings impacted

Ohm my! The SUB was left eerily dim after an unfortunate squirrel sparked a blackout across much of campus. Sarah Gill | Executive Producer

By Ava Dunwoody | Staff Writer

At 3:51 p.m. on Oct. 28, students received a BaylorNewsFlash email announcing the power had gone out in 22 buildings on campus between Fifth and Eighth street. Later, it was revealed that a squirrel had run on the power lines, been electrocuted and died.

“I did hear that when the power went out, there was a sound on the power line and then a squirrel flew off in front of Armstrong Browning,” Raleigh, N.C. junior Sarah Catherine Jeffries said. She was in Alexander Hall at the time of the outage and heard the story being passed around.

The squirrel incident was confirmed by Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman.

“The outage was caused by a squirrel, and yes, this has happened before,” Fogleman said.

Fogleman said “crews were able to replace a blown fuse and reset the electrical system” which “successfully restored power to 21 of the buildings.” Martin Hall, however, remains without power. She said it is estimated that power will be restored after midnight.

“There is enough residual heat in the building for residents until the power is back on,” Fogleman said. “The university also has onsite security officers for additional safety measures until power is restored. It’s an inconvenience, but the Men of Martin are resilient and always rise to a challenge, even a power outage.”

An email announcing that all power had been restored was sent out at 4:43 p.m., 52 minutes after the initial email. It did not mention a cause or Martin Hall’s lack of power.

“Power to the impacted buildings has been restored. Thank you for your patience as our crews worked quickly to resolve the issue,” the email said.

Some students said their classes were canceled due to the outage. Lewisville senior Hannah Hyden said her opera class in Waco Hall was canceled because the power went out and they “couldn’t rehearse without having the air filters running because of COVID.”

Other students reported WiFi outages that impacted their studying. But once the power came back on, students went on as usual. Jefferies said “it didn’t really alter [her day] that much.”

Excluding the Men of Martin, Baylor students were able to continue on with their day after an hour with little inconvenience. The squirrel, however, was not so fortunate.