Smashed sprinkler soaks Hyde
A plant fair and homeless first-years may seem unrelated but an accident late Thursday afternoon proved otherwise. Third floor Hyde resident Michael Lantz '06 was hanging up his newly purchased plant on the pipes running along the top of his bedroom walls when he slipped, sending his hand through the sprinkler head.
The small glass rod, which activates the sprinkler system, broke, delivering a torrent of water. Normally, the sprinklers are triggered by the heat from the fire, which melts this glass rod. However, since they are "not designed for abuse" as stated by Brunswick Fire Captain Randall Hamilton, such an episode can easily set off the system.
Although only one sprinkler was activated, each is designed to divert all the water in the entire system to the affected room, at a rate of sixty gallons per minute. Once triggered, the fire alarm in Hyde immediately went off, and all students in the dorm evacuated the building accordingly.
The water wreaked havoc on Lantz and his roommate Ian Kyle's room. Bystanders reported water spraying out of their window, as well as firemen pouring buckets of water out the windows. Their bedroom was flooded with more than a foot of water, which leaked to several rooms underneath them. When asked to estimate the extent of damage, Hamilton said "six to seven rooms, mostly on the third and second floor and one room on of the first floor [were damaged]."
Second floor resident Mary Vargo expressed concern about the condition of her room, upon learning about the incident, "I am really worried about my computer [and] I'm afraid to go into my room."
The fire department received the call at 2:04 p.m. and reacted to the situation quickly. First, they stopped the remaining flow of water by using wooden wedges to plug the sprinkler head. Then, they worked to shut off the electricity and sprinkler system.
Further, the firemen tried to protect the students' belongings by placing salvage covers over the goods and also by using wet vacuums to help suck up the water. The damage control did not stop there though. Maintenance and housekeeping were called in for the more in-depth clean-up effort, which will address secondary water damage and mold growth.
"Everyone's been really nice and offering to help clean up and give us rooms to stay in," said Kyle.
Five rooms were moderately to severely affected, according
to Bob Graves, Director of Residential Life. Seven people are being temporarily
relocated to other sites, such as Moore Hall and Coles Tower, so that
facilities can repair ceilings and asses the damage to personal property.