Some Cedar Falls residents were jarred out of their beds by a loud, unfamiliar noise early today . Jim O’Connor, spokesman for the University of Northern Iowa, says there was an incident at the UNI Power Plant that forced some evacuations.
O’Connor says at about 12:10 AM, UNI police and Cedar Falls Fire and Rescue responded to calls that there was a very loud noise coming from the power plant. The electronic monitoring system indicated the main breaker had been tripped. The steam system’s safety measures automatically took over and began releasing steam as a precaution, which was the source of the noise.
O’Connor says the source of the malfunction is still unclear. He says while UNI Power Plant staff were assessing the problem inside, UNI police and Cedar Falls Fire and Rescue set up a perimeter around the building. Building Five of University Mills Apartments, which is not affiliated with the University, was within that perimeter so residents were evacuated, but he says it’s uncertain how many.
O’Connor says there were no injuries and the system is back in working order this morning, though staff members are continuing to investigate what caused the incident. The steam generator was stabilized shortly after 1 A.M. and residents were back in their building by 1:20 A.M.