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Pipe bursts in Adams Center dorm room

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Flooded dorm

A pipe burst in an Adams Center dorm AC unit caused the room and hallway to flood.

A pipe burst inside an Adams Center dorm room Monday afternoon, causing the entire hall to flood and most of the hall’s residents to move to new buildings.

Amy West, a health and exercise science freshman, said she was lying in her bed on the third floor of McCasland Tower when she heard a “loud pop.”

 “And then it was just like ... a waterfall coming out of the AC,” West said.

West and her suitemates started laying down towels and unplugging electronics as the water continued to pour from the unit, before going downstairs to let the resident adviser’s office know. As emergency maintenance was called, West went back upstairs to see that the water was already spreading to the hallway.

As the hall residents scrambled to protect their belongings and attempt to barricade rooms with towels, West said maintenance arrived quickly. But the water continued to come from the pipe for about 30 to 45 minutes, West said. 

Pre-nursing freshman Natalie Berryhill said her room shared a wall with West’s and experienced the brunt of the flooding after maintenance had to remove the towel “dam” that was keeping water from moving down the hall into other rooms. 

Though maintenance workers were able to shut the water off — along with the hall’s electricity to avoid a fire — Berryhill said they were unable to stop the flow of water because all of the floors pipes were connected and it was coming all the way from the 12th floor. She also said the water was “dirty,” and the temperature was about 90 degrees.

“We just had to accept the inevitable and everybody just ran into their rooms because they knew it was going to be flooded,” Berryhill said. “And we were picking up, unplugging things… We had luckily gotten everything off the floor and unplugged everything (when they removed the towels)... and the water just rushed immediately into our room.”

ShaRhonda Maclin, assistant dean of students, told The Daily in an email that the cause of the flooding was a pipe burst.

“Adams is an older building with aging infrastructure,” Maclin said in the email. “When we experience rapid temperature changes like we did over the weekend, with temperatures in the 70s and the next day near freezing, it causes the pipes to expand and contract, which can cause older pipes to burst.”

With at least an inch of water on the floor, Berryhill said the carpet tiles in her room were ruined, as well as her wooden bookshelf doubling as a headboard.

West and Berryhill, along with most of their hallmates, were moved to emergency spaces Monday night and to permanent new dorm rooms in other residential halls on Wednesday.

Along with West’s hall, two rooms of the second floor and the faculty-in-residence apartment were affected, Maclin said.

While nothing extremely important was damaged in West’s room, she said their rug, mirror, shoes and some clothes were damaged. 

“The university said they’re going to reimburse us for the things that were ruined,” West said.

In December, West and her roommate filed a maintenance request to fix leaking from their AC vent. At first, West said they thought the pipe burst was a result of that request not being taken care of.

But Maclin said the leak was fixed in December, and the university was waiting on an outside contractor to replace the piping and the area of the pipe that burst was in a different spot from the previous leak. 

Berryhill had four tests this week and wasn’t able to study for two of them, she said, and has missed two or three classes due to the flood and the stress of the moving process, as well as becoming sick. But she said her professors have been understanding. 

Though West said Housing and Food has been very helpful during this week, it has been stressful for everyone affected.

“In the moment, there was a lot of adrenaline and a lot of girls were laughing, but now it's getting very stressful because a lot of us have tests this week,” West said. “So it has been very stressful just having to do the whole moving process again.”

Jana Allen is a journalism junior and the Daily's enterprise reporter. She was formerly a news reporter, and held several editor positions on the news desk before transitioning to enterprise.

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