The University of California at Berkeley campus was evacuated on the evening of Sept. 30, 2013, after a power outage and then an explosion took place. According to Mercury News, both may have been related to an attempted copper theft.
Mercury News reports, the power outage took place at about 4:45 p.m. ET and about 90 minutes later, an explosion was reported in an electrical vault just outside California Hall.
Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof told the publication that the explosion took place as crews were trying to get the power back on.
He said several people had minor injuries and one person has been hospitalized.
Communications Director for Facility Services Christine Shaff described the explosion as “a fireball,” according to the report.
Initially, the Contra Costa Times reported that a tweet from the Office of Public Affairs said the power outage and the explosion were caused by a “system failure.”
However, Mogulof told the Mercury News that it was discovered by campus officials last week that someone had used heavy equipment to pull copper from the ground. The damage was thought to be repaired on Sunday, but was likely more extensive than was originally thought.
According to the report, a salvage yard will pay about $4 a pound for copper, thus thefts in the area of the precious metal have risen tremendously.