Electrical Problems Send Firefighters To UW Boathouse

Incident Type
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 11:00pm
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 11:05pm
600 Block Babcock Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Four campus buildings were temporarily without power as the Madison Fire Department, along with UWPD and UW Security, attempted to identify an electrical issue inside the UW Boathouse.

Engine Company 4 responded just after 11:00 p.m. to check out a general fire alarm activation at the Boathouse. The alarm’s annunciator panel led them to a room in the basement.

While attempting to gain access to the locked room, firefighters could hear a popping noise inside along with the sound of a running machine. Signs on the door indicated there was high-voltage equipment inside, but the door would not unlocked even after several attempts with a variety of keys.

Suddenly, they heard a louder “pop” and then silence. Lights in the building blinked, and it appeared as though power was lost or a large circuit breaker had tripped.

Engine 4 had no choice but to force entry on the metal door to gain access to the room. Once inside, there were no signs of fire, but the firefighters did find a haze of smoke which likely triggered the detectors. They saw no other obvious problems. Their thermal imaging cameras indicated no heat signatures in the room.

Meanwhile, the crew learned at least three nearby dorms also lost power. UWPD arranged to have campus electricians take a closer look at what occurred and to make necessary repairs to restore power.

Engine 4 checked the room once again and confirmed there were no heat signatures or other imminent hazards. The smoke dissipated as UW personnel stood by for an electrician.

Posted 08/17/2017 - 10:04am

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)