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Widespread Power Outage Hits Burlington

A power outage is affecting many buildings in downtown Burlington as well as on the University of Vermont campus this morning. The outage was reported to UVM students via the university’s campus safety alert system just before 10:30 a.m.

Many businesses on Church Street in Burlington also lost power, including the newsroom of the Burlington Free Press, according to tweets from staff in the offices.

The cause of the outage is still unknown, but Burlington Free Press Associate Editor Adam Silverman tweeted that Burlington Electric Department is working on the problem.

Update 10:55 a.m.: Burlington Electric Department spokeswoman Mary Sullivan said that "the problem is clearly in the underground system running along East Ave." Because it is underground, Sullivan said a fix will take longer than it would with above-ground lines.

"At this point, we have crews investigating, but we don't know the cause," Sullivan said, so restoration times are currently unknown.

Sullivan said the outage is affecting Burlington's hill section and parts of downtown, but did not yet have estimates as to exactly how many customers were without power.

Update 11:39 a.m.: Burlington Electric Department crews have reportedly found the problem and plan to begin restoring power soon.

Update 11:50 a.m.: A photo posted to Twitter by Burlington Free Press photo editor Ryan Mercer shows electrical crews gathering snow to put out a smoldering underground wire where they discovered the problem.

Update 12:04 p.m.: UVM spokesman Jeff Wakefield released the following statement about the outage's effects at the university:

A power outage began affecting the UVM campus at about 10 a.m. this morning. Power was restored to campus beginning about 11:50. Buildings that lost power included Cook Physical Science, Torrey Hall, 86 South Williams St., 34 South Williams St., 146 South Williams, Wheeler House, Morrill Hall, Williams Hall, Royall Tyler Theater, Old Mill, Kalkin Hall, Bailey Howe Library, Votey Hall, Terrill Hall, Billings Library, Grasse Mount, Mansfield Hall, Ira Allen Chapel, 109 South Prospect Street, the Davis Center, and Lafayette Hall. A number of buildings with classrooms were affected, and some classes may have been cancelled. Decisions to cancel classes are being made on a class-by-class basis by faculty members. Students are urged to watch for notification from faculty to see if a class is cancelled.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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