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OJAI : 900 Evacuated From High School When Power Line Is Cut

About 900 Nordhoff High School students and faculty were evacuated Wednesday after a school secretary short-circuited electrical lines, causing transformers in various parts of the Ojai campus to spark and smoke for several seconds.

The problem started when a steel cover on a three-foot-deep electrical vault on the school’s lawn gave way after a student stepped on it, Principal Ron Barney said.

The student fell into the vault and received minor scratches on her leg.

A secretary who was attempting to replace the vault cover dropped it and severed a power line, setting off a chain-reaction of arcing electrical circuits throughout the school.

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The incident, which occurred about 1:55 p.m., cut off electrical power to all school facilities, said Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Darrell Ralston.

Other than the student who scratched her leg, no one was hurt, officials said. However, damage to the school’s electrical system is widespread, and classrooms may have to operate without electricity today, Barney said.

Students were not allowed back into their classrooms. About 2 p.m., administrators announced they could go home early. School normally lets out at 2:15 p.m. Officials were still working to restore electricity late Wednesday, but Barney said school would be held even if the problem is not fixed.

“We’re going to be having school even if there is no electricity,” Barney said.

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