On Thursday night at approximately 7 p.m., a water pipe located in the basement of Howell House burst, forcing the temporary evacuation of the building. Despite flooding the basement with half a foot of water, no substantial damage was caused.

In an email to the Orient, Carolina Deifelt Streese ’16, a resident of Howell, said she was in her room when the house’s alarm system activated.

Residents of Howell stayed at Burnett House, which is the nearest College House on Maine Street, while the officers from the Office of Safety and Security and the Brunswick Fire Department responded to the scene. 

According to Deifelt Streese, Security informed the residents that a water pipe in a crawl space behind the dance room—where the House is planning to host events this weekend—had burst, flooding the entire basement in roughly five to six inches of water. 

Initially, House residents were not allowed into the basement, and were concerned that some of the electronic equipment the House had recently purchased might have been damaged. At approximately 10 p.m., Facilities Management allowed the residents to check their equipment in the basement. 

“Fortunately, none of our equipment was damaged, though our floor is pretty wet,” said Deifelt Streese. “There was an inch of water still on the floor after Facilities finished pumping it out.” 

The flooding was limited to the basement, and unlike some College Houses, Howell only has student rooms on the above-ground floors. 

Facilities deactivated the House’s alarm and sprinkler systems and residents were allowed back in. They were cautioned, however, that they may have needed to find other sleeping arrangements due to the disconnected fire alarm. 

The Office of Residential Life then contacted students to inform them that in the event the alarm systems were unable to be restored, the College would post a Security officer in the house overnight and let students sleep in their rooms. 

Facilities was able to restore the alarm systems. According to Deifelt Streese, Facilities said it would be having a crew come to clean up the water overnight and put up dehumidifiers to prevent any further damage. 

Deifelt Streese said the residents were told they would find out today whether their basement will be cleared in time for their events over the weekend. In preparation for the worst, the residents had started making alternate plans to host their karaoke night and Thriftshop Party upstairs in their common room. 

“All in all, this is the best of a worst-case scenario,” Deifelt Streese said.