Blackout results in stuffy, dark dorms

By Shelby Horton

Shelby Horton/Collegian - Red emergency lights in Kent Hall came on Nov. 17, during the power loss.
Shelby Horton/Collegian - Red emergency lights in Kent Hall came on Nov. 17, during the power loss.

It was a blackout.

Hutchinson Community College students living in Kent Hall peered out of their windows in the darkness of the dorms.

When they looked across into the windows of Elland Hall, they could see the glow of cell phone lights, like floating fireflies, as other students wandered around the dark halls trying to figure out what happened.

On Nov. 17, at about 1 a.m., there was one loud crack of thunder and a flash of lighting to warn the students in the dorms of the impending blackout.

Students gathered in the lobby of Kent Hall using flashlights and cell phones to light their way through the darkened halls.

Emergency lights dimly lit most of the halls. Some halls were dark. Shower rooms were pitch black.

An HCC student described the redness of the hall emergency lights as looking like a scene straight from a zombie movie.

Kent Hall students looked out the front doors to see a line of dark figures coming towards them, illuminated only by a few lights.

Elland hall residents were coming over to Kent Hall to see if anyone knew what was going on.

The blackout triggered certain safety procedures, said Dana Hinshaw, HCC director of residence life and student activities.

“If the power outage is due to weather, we would be monitoring the weather to act appropriately,” Hinshaw said.

“In addition, security staff would be in touch with the fire system company so they are aware of the outage, resetting the system when it comes back online, and performing a fire watch while the system is down.”

U.S. Security Associates officers entered the dorms and inspected the situation, shortly after 1 a.m. on Nov 17. Several students became rowdy and agitated once the night guards, employed by HCC, came into the dormitories.

“They were yelling ‘mall cop’ and telling them they should just go home,” said Kadesha Brown, Valley Center.

“The shorter of the two security guards started to yell back saying they were just trying to protect us.”

The officers eventually threatened to call the city police if everyone continued to be loud and disruptive.

The students dispersed back into their rooms, and attempted to return to their usual activities of the evening.

It was later reported by television news that the power outage affected more than 900 customers in Hutchinson.

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