Mouse suicide causes campus blackout

By Dale Miller

In an unprovoked suicide attack on campus infrastructure on Mon., June 14, a mouse exploded itself and knocked out power to most of campus.

"We had a mouse get into an underground switch gear and blow everything up," said Mark Stevenson, a system operator at Enmax. "The switch that the mouse got across tripped out both our feeders, but they were out for less than an hour."

While no problems were reported directly to Campus Infrastructure, CJSW’s broadcast was briefly replaced by Lite 96 when the power surge caused their STL link to switch to the next signal, which happened to be Don, Joanne and the Coach.

"Our DJ was on at a quarter after eight when he heard some top 40 music coming through the headphones," said CJSW Station Manager Chad Saunders. "I think the listeners were a little surprised with the format change."

The problem occurred at a feeder in Enmax’s University Heights power station, but University of Calgary Maintenance and Operations had to switch power from the offending feeder to another feeder located around campus. It was approximately 40 minutes before the switch was made and power was restored.

"We had to get the power on as fast and safe as we could," said Raymond Mohl, Electrical Supervisor with Maintenance and Operations. "As of 11 a.m. today [Tue., June 15] everything is back to normal."

Along with CJSW, the outage affected Science A, Arts, Education, Professional Faculties, Murray Frasier Hall and buildings in residence–the mouse was the only casualty.

In case of another outage like this one, Mohl advises everyone to take the proper precautions.

"Always keep your data backed up, you never know when the power can black out," advised Mohl.

The mouse was unavailable for comment.

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