By PARTH SONECHA AND NISHANT KULKARNI
A possum is suspected of sparking a fire and subsequent blackout that caused havoc for hundreds of students studying at Monash University's Caulfield campus last night.
The electricity was cut to the campus at around 6.30pm, causing all unsaved work to be lost from campus computers.
Monash University student Eliot Vogel witnessed the incident.
“I saw a huge bang, all the lights went off in the buildings surrounding me and then there was this massive plume of smoke,” Mr Vogel said.
A dead possum and a shattered light bulb was found on the ground next to the electrical pole, where the fire started.
An MFB spokesman said the electrical fire was caused by a malfunction of high voltage transmission wires.
“Something malfunctioned and overloaded, and part of the transmissions system caught fire,” he said.
“The possum might have been in the area and caused it. It is not normal for a possum to cause a fire, but it does happen.”
Shivani Singh was finishing an assignment in the university library when the power was cut and her work was lost.
“I need to ask for an extension because of this blackout. It's not fair, I don't remember half the stuff,” Ms Singh said.
Students editing this week's episode of Mojo's political satire The Struggle were impacted by the power outage.
The Struggle host Tavleen Singh said it caused the show to be delayed from publication by two hours.
“Originally I was in my class, and all I thought was please please, I hope the premiere pro files comes back up,” Ms Singh said.
“Then I got really worried and called Monash security, the office told me that it would take 40 mins to get an electrician.”
The Struggle's head graphic designer Monica Ouk was forced to redo a lot of her work, after it was lost during the blackout.
“All the work I have been working on for The Struggle has been erased,” Ms Ouk said.
The campus electricity supply was restored after almost an hour.