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Squirrel Zapped by Power Line Keeps EMHS in Dark

Students allegedly sat in their classrooms for over two hours before learning what had happened.

was without power for almost three hours Friday after an errant squirrel allegedly caused an issue in an electrical pole along Carman Avenue Friday morning.

A fuse was knocked out at around 10:30 a.m., causing a transformer in the school's basement to smoke, a custodian stated.

"We shut the whole building down," he added. "The fire department came, but it was no big deal."

Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) received the call at 10:45 a.m., according to spokesperson Mark Gross.

"Upon inspection, it was a squirrel that made contact with the primary wire, and that caused the blown fuse," he added.

LIPA replaced the blown fuse and power was restored to the building by 1:30 p.m. Students were granted an early dismissal at approximately 1 p.m.

The custodian said that the building runs on three fuses, and when one of them is knocked out, the building cannot function on just two, which led to the transformer smoking.

"Kids were freaking out at first," he said. "But the school was taking every precaution."

Lauren Nissenbaum, a junior at East Meadow High School, was going about her day as normal when the lights began to flicker.

"I was outside with my friends for a second," Nissenbaum said. "One of the lights dimmed, and then all of the lights shut off. We were freaking out."

According to Nissenbaum, a teacher came and told the students to remain in the classroom, which by then was cold and dark. Rumors spread that there was an electrical fire in the basement.

"We were in the dark with 70 kids," Nissenbaum said. "The announcements weren't working and neither were the phones."

Nissenbaum, who was in chorus, spent the next two hours in the classroom before a student came and said they were allowing people to go to their lockers.

LIPA officials reported that this was an isolated incident.

"No other businesses or residents were affected," Gross added.

Attempts to contact Superintendent Louis DeAngelo and East Meadow Fire Chief Thomas Tergesen were unsuccessful.

Jaime Sumersille contributed to this article.

Matt December 04, 2010 at 04:43 AM
Your missing like half of the story. You can't write an article about this without writing about the kid who epicly jumped out of a second story classroom window in order to escape. And a lot of other things too.
Michael Ganci (Editor) December 04, 2010 at 07:06 AM
Matt, I apologize for leaving things out, but the sources I spoke to only mentioned what's included in the article. If you would like to talk more about this on the record to clarify for me, please email Michael.Ganci@patch.com.
Jacqueline Kendrick December 04, 2010 at 09:05 PM
He....jumped out of a window...to escape....the darkness? Or is there something more drastic I'm missing?
Barbara December 04, 2010 at 09:30 PM
they jumped out the windows to escape the school, it had police and fire dept personnel there. The hallways were dark and gloomy, there was NO food service, not to mention NO heat, and in effect the kids were being held prisoner, In the last class that had power. To be candid, If a school is without POWER and Phone service, It should Not be allowed to remain open, nor the kids be forced to stay there for hours. with the only sound in the building of Alarms, be it burglary or fire, It has to make you wonder what you are not being told!
MAY December 05, 2010 at 02:14 AM
Not a big deal. There is nothing drastic. It was a power outage. Just that. Everyone was safe. No one was jumping out of windows. This is a wonderful school that puts the safety of the students first. As for the comment about phone service, there was indeed phone service because phones do not run on power lines, not to mention cell phones. The faculty and staff at East Meadow High School handled the situation with professionalism and should be applauded for their efforts.
Michael Ganci (Editor) December 05, 2010 at 02:42 AM
I think a big issue with the people right now is that it is not clear what happened in terms of the period in between the outage and when the kids were informed. I have spoken to a few people on the subject, and most kids I spoke to had no idea what was going on. As far as the student jumping out the window, I haven't received any official word that proves that as true or false as of yet. I will keep you all informed.
MAY December 05, 2010 at 02:50 AM
Obviously if there is no power, the kids should be able to figure out what was going on. I think the teachers were not clear either. Now in order to end the school day you must wait to hear from the superintendent to OK it. Then they must contact the bus company to arrange for the busses to pick all of the kids up to take them home safely. If they just told the kids the power was out and called it a day, you can only imagine what it would be like with 1700 kids storming the streets. The safest place for the kids to be while all of the work behind the scenes was being done was in the classrooms with their teachers where they were supervised. These things take time. The building was not freezing. It takes more than 2 hours for the building to cool down when there is no heat. These things happen. It was an unfortunate situation but if you ask the students, they were more than happy to have an early dismissal:) I'm telling you, no one jumped out of a window. Kids like to start rumors and make more of a situation that was not even really a "situation."
Jacqueline Kendrick December 06, 2010 at 01:51 AM
Oh okay. Thank you, Mari. The way one of these comments posed it, it sounded like these children were about to be put into a concentration camp. I've been stuck in a high school classroom for 6 hours with no power due to storms, have been locked into classrooms for the duration of the school day (because runaway robbers decided to hide from police in a nice neighborhood and once caught, decided to have a shoot out) and had to evacuate the school more times than I can number due to bomb threats. The list goes on. My goodness! If the children in this high school were reacting this way to a simple power outage, they would have REALLY jumped out of windows had they been in my high school. It doesn't seem anything serious happened and I'm sure the students were glad to have an excuse not to do work :-)
MAY December 06, 2010 at 03:16 AM
Yup. You should have seen it during the lockdown a few years back when some armed bank robbers were on the loose! They were stuck inside the building for 2 hours and were acting like they were in jail! I'd rather know my child is safe in their school (with police in front) than know that they were excused from school and could be held hostage. High school students certainly know how to embellish a situation. Plus, in the day of cell phones, and ipods, these kids were not at a loss for communication or entertainment:)
Daniel December 06, 2010 at 03:25 PM
the kid got suspended plus my brother saw it from outside his french class. is that enough proof?
Jacqueline Kendrick December 06, 2010 at 03:26 PM
Proof of....what, exactly?
Susan Daniels December 09, 2010 at 06:58 PM
It's true, about the kid jumping out of the window. As a concerned parent I called up the school district and asked them about it. At first they were reluctant to tell me but then admitted that it was true but wouldnot tell me the kid's name. I was later talking to my friend about the subject and she said that it was in fact her friend's son who had jumped out of the window! She told me that the kid was grounded and suspended from school.

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