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Diman, Sayles flood due to pipe issues

Flooding prompts Diman evacuation, Sayles Hall class relocation

<p>36 students residing in Andrews Hall were forced to relocate for the night following flooding. They were instructed to either stay with a friend or in one of the University’s emergency housing options.</p>

36 students residing in Andrews Hall were forced to relocate for the night following flooding. They were instructed to either stay with a friend or in one of the University’s emergency housing options.

Buildings on different corners of campus — Andrews Hall, Diman House and Sayles Hall — flooded over the weekend and on Monday. But, according to the University, the causes of flooding have all been resolved.

Diman House is the most recent source of flooding, with a burst pipe in the basement leading to a “brief, temporary evacuation spurred by an alarm” early Monday morning, University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald. The flooding, he added, did not “impact student rooms.” Facilities Management contained the flooding quickly.

Zandy Swartzman ’24, a resident of Diman House, said he and his friends were extremely confused after being woken up by the alarm. “It really did look like a scene from the Titanic,” he said. “Just water spewing down.”

“We were just waiting outside for about half an hour,” he added. “We went into Goddard for warmth.” His friends on the first floor weren’t impacted, according to Swartzman.

“We got back at like two (in the morning) or something,” he said. Shortly after students returned to their rooms, the alarm went off a second time, Swartzman said. The second time, though, he and his roommate decided to stay inside.

“My roommate was asleep and was really not happy,” he said. “We covered our heads with pillows until the alarm stopped.”

Still, he noted that the situation has since been resolved and “could have been a lot worse.”

The flooding in Sayles Hall occurred Monday morning when “a frozen sprinkler line in the entry vestibule at the main entrance … ruptured,” Senior Vice President for Communications Cass Cliatt wrote in an email to The Herald. The sprinkler bursting activated the fire alarm, which in turn triggered a building-wide fire alarm that alerted the Providence Fire Department. 

Cliatt noted that “the lower level of Sayles received the bulk of the damage,” with classrooms 012, 005, 002 as well as the surrounding offices in the basement all experiencing water damage. Classrooms 104, 105 and the building’s main hall were also impacted.

The sprinkler line has now been defrosted, and a new sprinkler head was installed, Cliatt added. While the drying process will continue on the main and lower levels, students are  able to use all unaffected classrooms.

On Pembroke Quad, the University isolated the problem that led to flooding in the east wing of Andrews Hall on Saturday evening, Cliatt. Facilities Management determined that a student had tampered with the sprinkler system in their room, which triggered the flooding.

She said that while the entire building was initially evacuated, 12 triples were “directly impacted” by the flooding, leaving 36 students with the choice to either stay with a friend or in one of the University’s emergency housing options.

Cliatt added that Facilities Management contacted a restoration company late Saturday evening that “remained on-site through Sunday to repair and mitigate damage.” Staff in the Office of Residential Life informed students that the repairs will continue throughout this week but offered no exact date regarding their expected completion, Cliatt wrote.

Some students have already been able to return to their residences, but Cliatt noted that students who live in rooms that experienced “significant flooding and water damage ... have been informed that they unfortunately will not be able to return to their rooms for at least 48 hours, though the repairs could take longer.”

The University has also placed dehumidifiers in all affected living spaces. 

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