Two radiators in Brunswick Apartments burst over Winter Break, causing damage in each location. In both cases, cold air was able to get into the apartment, freezing a radiator and causing a minor explosion.
In the first apartment, Brunswick I, the outside door to the apartment was left ajar, causing the hallway radiator to burst. In the second, Brunswick K3, a window was left open in a room.
According to Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon, Security reported a burst radiator and damage in Brunswick I on December 22, and the Facilities Department was notified.
Jeff Tuttle, Associate Director of Facilities Operations, oversaw the repairs made to both apartments.
"We responded as quick as possible. We found the valve on the radiator and turned it off," he said. "That cures the initial the problem, then we start the cleanup."
ServPro, an outside company, was hired to do some cleanup as well, according to Tuttle.
The radiator in Brunswick K3 burst sometime last week, according to McMahon, though she couldn't recall the exact date.
"[Brunswick] I was probably the hardest hit, there was significant floor damage. When water gets to [the floors] they swell and buckle," Tuttle said. "We did temporary repairs, we will do more extensive repairs this summer."
Tuttle also said the broken radiator in Brunswick I has been taken out because it was in a hallway and therefore deemed superfluous. He indicated that the damage was minimal in Brunswick K, and that essentially the only work needed was to replace the radiator.
Matt Bruch '10, who lives in the apartment and was staying there over Winter Break for College athletics, said he was lucky the damage wasn't worse.
"The pipe burst toward the doorway, if it had gone the other way it would have damaged my computer," Bruch said. "This black kind of stuff sprayed, there was like a chunk of metal that shot to the floor."
Bill Madden '09, who lives in Brunswick I, said he was told the damage to his apartment was the worst. He was away when the radiator burst, but indicated that his roommate, Josh Kimball '09, saw the damage.
"My roommate, he got back early because he's a swimmer and he saw the damage and he thought it was pretty bad," Madden said.
McMahon said that the total cost of the damages to Brunswick I was $3800, and that the College was filing an insurance claim.
Madden said the posters in the room were ruined, and one object that meant a lot to him.
"There was a lot of water damage to a lockbox, it wasn't ruined, but it's definitely damaged," Madden said. "It was my grandfather's lockbox and I restored it. You can't put a price on it but to me it's priceless."
Madden said the impression he got from the e-mail sent to him over break was that personal damages could be claimed through Bowdoin insurance but that he hadn't looked into it and hadn't heard any more information. McMahon confirmed this to the Orient through an e-mail.
In the case of Brunswick K3, the students occupying the room were asked to pay for some of the damages.
Bruch said he was told by McMahon that he and the other student staying in the apartment over Winter Break were each being charged $150 for the incident.
Bruch was upset and sent a reply protesting the charge.
"I was saying the window was open for comfort reasons and the radiator was outdated," Bruch said.
Bruch said McMahon replied that he still had to pay the charge because, having lost his key, he had been keeping the window open to gain access to his room.
McMahon said that the lesson here is that by allowing cold air into the apartments, students are putting themselves at risk.
"It's not safe to prop your door in the fall and spring, but it's actually unsafe and hazardous to prop your door in the winter," she said.