The power went out in several buildings of the McGill downtown campus yesterday between 3:44 p.m. and 5 p.m. when a blackout affected roughly 115,000 Hydro-Québec customers across the province. At the time of press, Hydro-Québec was still investigating the cause of the outage, though it had traced it back to an incident on the 735 kilovolt line at the de la Vérendrye transformer station near Sainte Adèle, the Montreal Gazette reported.
At McGill, individuals were stuck in elevators in five different buildings – Schulich, McLennan, Strathcona, Otto Mass, and Bronfman – but technicians successfully removed them before the fire department had to be contacted, according to Security Services Associate Director Pierre Barbarie. Otherwise, “no major incidents were reported,” he said.
No evacuations were officially ordered, although security personnel began to evacuate the Shatner basement roughly twenty minutes into the blackout when certain emergency lights did not come on. They stopped the evacuation process shortly thereafter when power returned at about 4:20 p.m. to the building.
Barbarie estimates that the outage affected about twenty-five buildings on campus. The outage did not affect buildings in the northeast quadrant of the downtown campus, including the James Administration building, the Rutherford Physics building, and the Henry Birks building, according to Building Services District Supervisor Elio Taddeo. The Macdonald campus was not affected by the outage, according to campus security personnel.