A power outage in the Tenleytown area was caused by a blown fuse at around 7:20 a.m. this morning. Wilson and a few surrounding buildings, including Deal Middle School, were affected. At around 9:30 a.m. administrators dismissed students for the day despite ongoing efforts to fix the electrical problem.
According to Matt Anderson, a worker for the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), the power outage was caused by a blown fuse located on an electric pole on 40th St. Anderson believes there were no safety concerns as a direct result of the blown fuse. Emergency lights at the school stayed on but the main power for the building was out. Security started letting students enter the building at around 8:15, but because the X-ray machines and metal detectors that are usually used to scan students as they enter building were not functioning, security guards and administrative staff searched all bags by hand and used battery-powered wands to scan students, significantly slowing the rate of entry.
Students and teachers waited in the atrium as more students entered the building until 9 a.m., when administrators told teachers and students to head to their first period class despite the classes and hallways still being without power. During this time, Assistant Principal Gregory Bargeman told teachers and students that the bathrooms were working.
At 9:22 a.m. Bargeman announced school was cancelled for the day and students were escorted out of their classes by teachers.
Many students waited around Tenleytown and outside of Wilson for information until the announcement that school was closed. There were reports by students of a police officer holding a weapon in an effort to control a crowd of students outside of Panera Bread. Three police officers standing outside Panera at approximately 9:45 a.m. declined to comment.
In addition to Wilson, Alice Deal Middle School, Whole Foods, Supercuts, Envy Nails and Spa, and the Kerry Building across the street from Supercuts also lost power. Deal students were released for the day shortly after Wilson students were released, at approximately 10:15 a.m. A worker at Sport and Health gym reported the gym’s computer system had crashed but said that by 10 a.m. their power had been restored. Wilson and Deal students were told to expect a regular start time to school tomorrow. “We never expect anything like [a delay] to happen,” Anderson said. “We work around the clock until it gets fixed completely.”
By 10 a.m., most Wilson kids had left Tenley and police presence in the area had returned to normal.