The cafeteria is one of the areas that were affected by the power outage. P.E. classes met there due to no power in the gyms. (Lucy Hunter)
The cafeteria is one of the areas that were affected by the power outage. P.E. classes met there due to no power in the gyms.

Lucy Hunter

Small Electrical Fire Causes Power Outage At Liberty

Underground wire catches fire due to electrical malfunction

January 15, 2020

*** UPDATE 7:39 a.m. Dr. Kiesel has confirmed that the Liberty building resumed power at 9 p.m. on Jan. 15. The intercom and bells are not working as of now, but the school is working on it.

Liberty students noticed something unusual while making their way into the school building on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The 600 hallway, cafeteria and both gyms were pitch black. Many students and staff had no idea what was going on, but it was later revealed that Liberty was in the middle of a power outage.

A lot of questions have yet to be asked, what caused the outage? How long is it going to last? How will this impact the school day and after school activities? Custodian Luther Morris provided some much anticipated answers.

“When I came into Liberty this morning, the 600 hallway had no power,” Morris said. “I went to check on what was going on, and there was a burning smell. I called the principal to let him know, and he was already notified of the fire by 11 p.m. last night. I talked to the Wentzville School District director of maintenance services, and he stated that he had been at Liberty up until 3 a.m this morning handling this situation.”

Night custodians noticed a burning smell toward the end of their shift around 10:45 p.m. The lights began flickering before the breaker was shut off.

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The reason for the power outage came from a malfunction from the wiring in the 600 hallway.

The main gym, auxiliary gym, weight room, wrestling room and fitness room all lost power, along with the 600 hallway, cafeteria and both bathrooms in the cafeteria. This outage has impacted a good amount of the school, which means that students and staff will inevitably be impacted to a point as well. The main students affected are the ones enrolled in P.E. courses. 

Coach Wheeler, an instructional assistant at Liberty, explains how the school will function normally, for the most part. 

“It’s still business as usual today. The only thing that’s directly affected are the P.E. classes, which is unfortunate,” Wheeler said. “Most of those students will just hang out in the cafeteria for that class period.”

Freshman Camryn Minor is a student in Mrs. Kleekamp’s girls P.E. class. She explained how the outage impacted her class.

“For P.E. today, we just sat in the cafeteria and did nothing,” Minor said. 

With this outage clearly impacting students and their classes, the district hopes the issue can be taken care of as soon as possible. However, with many areas of the school affected, it’s probable that this situation may take a little while to fix. 

“According to the director of maintenance, it might take a couple of days to get this outage under control,” Morris said. “They have to rewire the 500 hallway all the way to the 600 hallway.”

After school events such as the wrestling tri-meet and the faculty meeting, both scheduled for Jan. 15, were postponed because of the electrical situation. Although parts of Liberty lost power, the damage done could have been much worse than what it is.

“My understanding is that some kind of underground wiring caught fire, which is being worked on right now,” Morris said. “The only damage so far is the power outage and the burnt wires.”

To conclude, this power outage affected multiple parts of the Liberty campus. It may be a large outage, but it will be under control in a couple of days.

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