On Jan. 18 at around 2 a.m., Casey Schaertl, a second year Computer Engineering major, was in her first-floor room in Global Village building D (GVD, 404), when she thought she heard a noise coming from her laptop. She walked over to her desk to turn off her computer, but it was already off. That was when she noticed she was standing in a puddle of water.
Schaertl grabbed her power strip off the floor and started moving her belongings to her bed. Soon after, a hole approximately 1.5 inches in diameter burst open in the wall above her head and started spraying freezing water into the room, soaking her from head to toe.
“At that point, I just started scooping everything up and ran into the living room,” Schaertl said.
Schaertl woke up her suitemates, who all started moving their things to safer places. “Fortunately, one of my roommates who wasn’t there left her door unlocked. She’s an art major so all of her art on the floor would’ve gotten wet,” Schaertl said.
Sheila Kaufman, a second year Industrial Design major and one of Schaertl’s suitemates, was in her room sleeping when she heard the rushing water. “I just assumed someone was taking a shower,” Kaufman said. “I heard people yelling, and I walked out of my room; and there was just water coming from the last room. The water pressure was really high so it was spraying everywhere.”
Kaufman put all of her belongings on top of her bed and pushed her sheets and towels against the doorways to prevent water from entering her room. “It worked for awhile, but then the water started seeping from under the walls,” Kaufman said.
The cause of the flood was a frozen pipe. Kurt Ingerick, associate director of Housing Operations, said that when the pipe was installed, it was not surrounded by the proper insulation. That caused the pipe to split in the cold.
Public Safety arrived less than 30 minutes after Schaertl called them. They asked the suitemates if they had somewhere they could go for the night and told them they would receive an e-mail in the morning about temporary housing.
Housing Operations repaired the pipe and called in a company to clean the suite. By Friday, Jan. 21, the girls were allowed to move back into their suite. Kaufman, however, did not return to the suite; instead, she moved in with a friend who also lived in GV.
As far as damage done, nothing was ruined, according to Schaertl. She was able to dry all of her electronics with the exception of her phone. “My Droid stopped working,” she said. “I think I will have to get a new one. Fortunately, that’s it.”
Ingerick said that RIT Risk Management works with students to file damage claims. The claim would either be filed with the student’s insurance company or, if they didn’t have insurance, with RIT.
Despite the apparent error, Ingerick said he was very happy with the construction of GV. Housing Operations checked the rest of GV and found no similar lapse.
“We certainly don’t want this to happen any more than the students want to experience it,” Ingerick said.