By Kelly Schaffer
What some residents thought was just another fire drill in Marian Hall on Sunday night turned out to be an actual problem for the residents of the ground floor.
“Around 9 pm on Sunday night, … I was notified by a resident that a sprinkler head had been broken in one of the rooms on ground floor, spraying water throughout the room,” said Amy Seitz, the Residence Director of Marian. “Security arrived; Physical Plant was notified and arrived shortly thereafter.”
Before the valve turned off, significant water had already spread throughout the hallway. A number of residents’ rooms on the wing were flooded, but students used towels to stop the water flow as much as possible. The water damage to some rooms was limited but others were completely flooded.
“One dorm room was entirely waterlogged,” Seitz said. “The mattresses were replaced and the furniture dried out. There was significant damage to the girls’ personal property in the room where the sprinkler went going off, and a couple other residents have reported some additional property damage.”
The water stretched from the outside of the chapel door on one wing all the way to the courtyard door on the next wing, flowing down the courtyard stairs and soaking the floor in the sitting area by the windows.
Physical Plant Services worked until 1 am to extract carpet and remove wet furniture and they began what would be a long week of fixing what the sprinkler system soaked. From replacing mattresses to painting the wall the sprinkler head had sprayed on, the Physical Plant Services crew has been instrumental in the clean-up of Marian’s ground floor.
“Residents who were affected by the flooding were provided laundry money to wash or dry their clothes if they got wet,” said Seitz.
The night of the incident, several girls needed to find new places to sleep. Their choices ranged from an unoccupied room in Marian, a Resident Assistant’s room in Marian, a friend’s room on another floor or in another hall, or an unoccupied room in St. Thomas More Hall or lower campus.
“Most of the residents chose to stay with friends,” said Seitz. “I moved six residents into three unoccupied rooms, and had a handful of students stay over in (St. Thomas More Hall). Students were able to return to their rooms the following afternoon.”
To prevent future incidents, it was recommended that students not touch the sprinkler heads in their halls. The sprinkler heads are sensitive in order to be able to detect heat from a real fire, and should be left alone.
Students were reminded that Franciscan is not responsible for damage to the students’ property, and they are encouraged to have a renter’s insurance policy for their things.
Seitz sends out a final thank you to “everyone for being so willing to help with the clean up, and for supporting each other through the challenges this past week brought.”