Water damage displaced seven Oakland Hall residents early Thursday morning after a student tossed his keys in the air, causing a sprinkler to burst on the third floor of the building, said Residential Facilities director Jon Dooley.
Residents evacuated the building when a fire alarm sounded at about 1:45 a.m. and were allowed back inside about 40 minutes later, said Diamondback writer and Oakland resident James Crabtree-Hannigan.
Damage resulted on the first, second and third floors of the building, Dooley said. The Department of Resident Life relocated two rooms of students to neighboring dorms in the Denton and Ellicott Communities, said Tracy Kiras, a Resident Life spokeswoman.
“We placed them in vacant rooms where they wouldn’t have to be too far from their community,” Kiras said.
The water affected 16 rooms, including a Resident Director’s apartment, a study lounge on the first floor, and the service desk. Service desk function resumed at 2 p.m., Kiras said.
Everyone, with the exception of the seven displaced residents, was able to return to their rooms Thursday evening, Kiras said. As of Thursday evening, the Department of Resident Life did not know when displaced students would be able to return to Oakland, Kiras said.
Facilities management will continue working on several rooms Friday morning, Kiras said. If residents feel uncomfortable returning to their rooms while work continues, Resident Life has provided space and beds in Elkton Hall lounges, she added.
Residents have tagged their damaged belongings, and Resident Life staff is working to wash those items. The staff has sent clothing and other items that can be laundered to outside laundry and dry cleaning services, Kiras said.
Emma Schwartzman, a sophomore astronomy and physics major, said her room on the second floor was soaked after returning from the fire drill this morning. Water continued to come in through the edges of the room when Schwartzman left for class at 9 a.m. today, she said.
“My roommate got hit the worst,” Schwartzman said. “The water came down underneath the wall that is next to her desk.”
While the water did not compromise the roommates’ electronic devices, drenched floor rugs will have to be washed, Schwartzman said.
Fifteen bedrooms required drywall repair after facilities staff identified residual moisture inside the walls, Chris Moore, the assistant director of Residential Facilities Administrative Services, wrote in an email to residents. Residential Facilities brought in an outside contractor to “help expedite” the repairs.
“We are working diligently to try to move these repairs along in order to restore your bedrooms as soon as possible,” Moore wrote.