A pipe burst on the fifth floor of Hardwick Hall caused an evacuation of the rooms and water damage on Wednesday, Jan. 22. With temperatures dipping into the single digits and a broken heating system since the day before, the heating pipe along the window-side wall broke open.
The students who lived in the room of the pipe burst were moved to another room on the same floor following the incident. There were no major injuries reported.
Starting around 3:30 p.m., residents heard girls screaming, followed by a fire alarm that caused the whole building to be evacuated.
“We walked out and saw all of this water everywhere. It was flooded all over the floor. It was really bad,” Tiara Middleton, a freshman biology major, said, adding the hallway had a large amount of steam filling it.
Danay Harris, a freshman speech, language and hearing science major, said water spilled into her room, which is next to the site of the pipe burst, and all over her floor.
“Girls were screaming… they were running down the floor,” Victoria Zienkiewicz, an undeclared freshman, said. “As we were going down the stairwell, people were pushing to get out of there. It was ridiculous.”
Sam Schlosberg, an undeclared freshman and resident in the room below the pipe burst, said the water was spilling into his room from each of the corners of the ceiling, soaking the floor, a bed and a PlayStation 3. He said the water was too hot to touch without burning himself and had a brown coloring to it.
The third, fourth and fifth floors remained closed until around 8 p.m. Students reported a very strong odor as a result of the soaked furniture and floors when they returned to their floors.
C.J. Walsh, a freshman in the business school, Schlosberg’s roommate and owner of the PlayStation, responded to a university email to be refunded for the damage, but had not received a response by Monday night.
Schlossberg said he tried plugging his refrigerator back into the wall and felt an electrical shock up his arm.
Heat was restored to the floors on Monday, six days after the incident. Maintenance cleaned the water damage in the hallway floors and a few students’ rooms as of Monday night. The room the pipe burst in remained vacant and had a noticeable odor Monday night.
Various students reported their windows being covered in ice prior to the incident due to the broken heating system. A few explained that they had to bundle up to stay warm the night before the incident.
All of the residents of the room where the pipe burst, as well as the floor’s RA, declined to be interviewed. Temple Residential Life didn’t return multiple requests for comment on the incident.
Marcus McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @marcusmccarthy6.