‘People were screaming’

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By Amy Brown-Bowers

Lunch was cancelled, a cigarette savoured, and cell phones saved the day during Tuesday’s blackout.

Two silver-haired students waited for a lunch that never arrived. Edith Mannes and Dorothy Rivet were hoping to grab a quick meal at Salad King before heading to their humanist class at Ryerson. They were the restaurant’s only customers at its 11 a.m. opening. “We were cheated,” Mannes said of her missed lunch.

Brandon Ford, a part-time engineering student, huddled outside Salad King after being kicked out of the Eaton Centre. Another shopper told him about an ATM machine that went up in flames.

Glen Hoelker, another shopper, said “it did stink in there.” He was in the subway when the lights went out. “One out of every five lights was on…it was pretty scary…People were screaming,” Hoelker said.

Zahid Siddique was outside Jorgenson Hall smoking a cigarette. “It’s my last one,” he said. He found out about the outage when he tried to buy a pack of smokes at a corner store.

David Del Grande was showered with insults, pointing fingers, waves of slush, money and salutes for his traffic services. He directed cars and pedestrians at Yonge and Dundas streets through the bulk of the power outage.

“This is the busiest intersection in all of Canada. If you don’t have someone directing traffic, something is going to happen,” Del Grande said. He’s had no formal traffic training but said, “it’s not too hard, you just move your arms.” He also helped out during the blackout in August. “I guess that was practice,” Del Grande said.

Jackie Kim, a first-year hospitality and tourism students, was in the Podium building when the lights went out. “Everyone just turned on their cell phones,” Kim said, “security was there saying ‘don’t panic.’”

Peter Weinstein, a first-year aerospace engineering student, was in East Kerr Hall. His classroom had hardwood floors, but no emergency lights to help students navigate through the dark. Another engineering student, John Koval, said the blackout wouldn’t stop engineers from learning.

“This is engineering,” he said. “A bomb could go off and the teachers would keep teaching.”

– With files from Chris Richardson

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