A transformer blew near Mollison Elementary School, forcing kids out into the heat- and canceling classes for the day. Mollison, located at 44th and King Drive, is a welcoming school within the CPS system. The K-8 school opened Monday with new students from now closed Overton Elementary School. Late Tuesday morning, a transformer behind the school blew a pair of fuses. The electricity went out and the fire alarms went off automatically. Students and staff evacuated.
"Everybody was in line, and we walked straight out. It was nice and orderly. It wasn't like chaos, everybody running around trying to get out," Ebony Tillman, 7th grader, said.
There was no fire and no one was hurt, though the transformer failure was a bit unnerving to those who heard it.
"It sounded like an explosion, a big bang," said one witness. "I went in the building- everything is off. They're trying to handle it as best they can," Darryl Clark said.
"I was a little concerned but they seem to have everything under control. I have total faith in them," Raquel Stewart, parent, said.
Parents were called and those who could come pick up their children did so. The other students were bused to nearby King High School, where they spent the afternoon in cooler confines.
ComEd has not determined a cause for the outage, but Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell says she was told that the extra air conditioning added to Mollison created a demand overload and the transformer failed.
"CPS did not alert Commonwealth Edison that they had put those air conditioning units into the building. So the transformer they stared with yesterday couldn't handle the loads," Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward, said.
In the meantime, Mayor Emanuel said the city is doing what it can to help the schools cool off.
"We will continue to make investments for more ac as we did in Jones, Back of the Yards, as well as what we did in the 2,000 air conditioning units that were put in the schools," said Mayor Emanuel.
School will be back in session at Mollison on Wednesday.