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Rat Sparks a 6-Hour Outage at UC Berkeley Campus

Special to The Times

A wayward rat shut down the UC Berkeley campus for six hours Friday when it stumbled onto the university’s main power cable, a university spokesman said.

The rat, which was badly charred, crawled inside the central campus substation about 5:30 a.m., where it formed a circuit between the university’s Pacific Gas & Electric switch and a steam-energy source, shorting out the campus.

The blackout left hundreds of offices and laboratories and about 10,000 employees without power while emergency generators supplied electricity to the university Police Department, vital lab and health services, and an animal facility.

Most students are on vacation until Tuesday.

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