By PEYTON TICH
Due to a pipe that burst in Loomis Hall, Winter Starts were abruptly interrupted as they settled into their rooms over Half Block. As a result of the pipe breakage, there was a great deal of flooding in the building. The move-in event began around 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 13, and was resolved quickly with the help of campus personnel.
Residential Life Coordinators and Resident Advisors were the first to respond to the incident. Junior Ariel Filion, an RA on East Campus, was called from across campus minutes after the flooding began. She was instructed to bring a water vacuum in hopes of alleviating some of the initial damage. “[There was] water coming out of the hallway,” Filion said about arriving at the scene. She went on to describe the hectic atmosphere as RAs scrambled to call maintenance staff. Most of the initial cleanup was improvisational. “[RAs] took the yellow moving carts into different bathrooms and rooms to help pick up all the water,” said Filion.
Once the water was shut off, the cleanup process began. Experts arrived and began sucking up all the water. A truck was parked outside of Loomis for the next several days, ensuring all moisture was cleared from the building. The next step was to assess the damage to the individual rooms. Loomis RLC Luis Valdez was part of the team that catalogued damages to the building. “We inventoried and documented everything we could find that may have been damaged, like wet basically, and stored it all by room number and took documentation of it,” Valdez said. “We put them in bags and sent them out and they got professionally cleaned.”
After the RLCs took inventory of students’ items, multiple tests were performed to ensure that harmful mold or mildew was not left behind in the rooms. The water that flooded Loomis was reportedly clean, and the tests for every room confirmed that with negative results for mold and mildew.
Because this occurred over Half Block, many students were not on campus. Most students were notified via email, while some were notified by their RA in their hall’s GroupMe message stream. The RLCs and the school administration also responded to several phone calls from individual students and parents seeking information on the situation and affirmation of safety.
Among the students whose rooms were affected, many were grateful the cleanup happened quickly and that responders were able to minimize the damage to rooms and belongings.
Kelly Nguyen, a sophomore living on the first floor of Loomis, was thankful for the quick cleanup. “I really appreciate how they tried to return things, to the best of their abilities, back to normal in a timely fashion,” Nguyen said. “My rug was [returned] in a better condition than it was before.”
Luis Valdez remarked at how expeditious the response time and subsequent cleanup process were. “We had people on-site within half an hour [and] I was there within five to 10 minutes of it all happening,” said Valdez. “We had a bunch of people here, and honestly, by that night, people were technically able to be back in their rooms safely.” Loomis also offered students temporary displacement options.
While most students were not back on campus to witness the incident, it is clear from firsthand reports that it was handled in an efficient manner, ensuring that students’ belongings and the building itself saw minimal to no damage. It has been confirmed that Loomis is clear, and that the building is back up and running as usual.