LaTischa Franzmeier, Staff Writer
BREEP! BREEP! BREEP! Yet again, the fire alarms were going off in Village A. This time, though the late-night cacophony had nothing to do with fog machines or burnt toast. Water, gushing from the burst sprinkler pipe in Village A 116-119, was the culprit.
A thin sheet of water was rolling over the front step of Village A 116-119. Seniors Janai Kinnebrew, Charlotte Mitchell, Faolan O Grady and their next-door neighbors dashed in and out of the flooded suite, stacking pet cages and carrying out electronics.
“Basically, freezing water was literally gushing out of the sockets,” said Kinnebrew. When then-Village A RA Jaybear Casale arrived, he instructed the residents to stay out of the possibly electrified water and called the fire department. Village Area Coordinator Joyce Milling was not present. According to Milling, Ballfield Area Coordinator Phil Wiltzius was.
Eventually, the alarms stopped blaring and those Village A denizens with unflooded suites could flop back into bed. The first time the pipes burst – yes, this was only the beginning – there was virtually no response from Residence Life about where the displaced students would sleep that night.
Kinnebrew described the night in detail.
“All they could tell us was that a pipe had burst and that we couldn’t sleep there that night. Four of our suite mates slept over with friends while Charlotte and I sought shelter in the Writing Center for the night. Furthermore, only those of us who were home knew about the flood and only one of our other suite mates was notified that night. The others were left to fend for themselves to find somewhere to sleep and it was thanks to the kindness of friends that they were warm that night.”
When the suitemates returned the next day, they weren’t pleased with what they found. “We tried to talk to someone about getting reimbursed for our damaged property, but since none of us has renter’s insurance, we were told that we were out of luck,” said Kinnebrew. Luck, it seems, did not seem to favor residents of Village A 116-119. Over Winter Break, the pipes for the sprinkler systems froze and exploded again.
Milling was present during the crisis and said of the damages, “There was a significant amount of water that poured from the ceiling into one room and it soaked under two walls as well, allowing water to seep into two other bedrooms.” Once again, belongings were damaged, even with the efforts of the fire department and FMTS to stack things to dry on tarps. “Tom Wilder worked laboriously to vacuum up much of the water to prevent further damage,” said Milling. FMTS also took the students’ wet clothing to be dry-cleaned.
That night, the students staying over break in Village A were found places to sleep on campus. Everyone was allowed to return the next day, but more damage was done in Village A 116-119. Construction efforts are still in progress and are expected to be finished by the first week of February.
When asked if there was anything the school could have done differently, Kinnebrew replied, “We feel like the school should have done more to keep us in the loop about what was going on with the place that we pay to live in. Even now that another pipe has burst here, we have still heard nothing from anyone besides Joyce the AC and the contractors who are in and out all day.”