Fourteen students received new temporary housing after extensive water damage occurred in two apartments in the Hill residence hall Friday, Jan. 29, according to Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan.
The incident is believed to have started with a damaged toilet leaking in an apartment and into the one below it, Morgan said.
Benjamin Tzodikov and Josh Gonzalez, sophomores and residents of Hill 10 12A, the apartment that the leak began in, were present when the pipe burst.
“We came back from New Haven and I went to use the bathroom. I flushed the toilet and the toilet wouldn’t stop flushing,” Tzodikov said.
Tzodikov and Gonzalez said they weren’t immediately worried about the recurrent flushing because they previously dealt with another toilet in their bathroom swirling.
“I think it was last semester, the opposite toilet I had flushed it and the similar thing was happening. It kept swirling and swirling and swirling and it never got to the point of flooding or anything like that but we called facilities and they shut it off. So it wasn’t unheard of,” Gonzalez said.
However, Friday’s incident escalated and did lead to flooding.
After hearing the toilet swirl for a while, Gonzales and Tzodikov called Public Safety and told them about the situation and were reassured that a Public Safety officer would arrive soon.
Within 10 minutes, before the officer arrived, the pipe behind the toilet burst and water immediately began to pool in the bathroom.
“We called Public Safety again and we’re like it’s a lot worse and they’re like, ‘there’s nothing we can do.’ And we’re like, ‘you don’t understand there’s like a foot of water in our room now,’” Tzodikov said.
The water damage majorly affected the apartment below 12A. Shortly after the water began pooling in the upper apartment’s bathroom, residents from the apartment below came upstairs and told them about the water leak.
“We all went down there and then it was literally pouring rain. Well, not rain, dirty toilet water, but it was all pouring in their bathroom,” Gonzalez said.
The damage was so extensive that the next morning both Gonzalez and Tzodikov report seeing facilities workers ripping out insulation.
The 14 students who lived in the two apartments were reassigned to other residence halls while the repairs occurred.
This is not the first time students in Hill have been temporarily relocated. In February 2014, melted snow flooded the common rooms of two Hill apartments, causing students to have to move out for a few days. Earlier this academic year, six students temporarily had to move into a different residence hall after a Residential Life staff member’s car rolled back into the Hill 70s building.
In late February of last year, a pipe burst in Commons and a sprinkler line broke in Village, causing similar situations and relocation processes.
The pipe burst in Commons only caused an issue for the students in those residence halls for three hours. But the sprinkler line break led to 16 students being relocated to a different residence hall for several days.
The residents in 12A were expected to return Feb. 2, and the residents in the apartment below are expected to return Feb. 3.
Though the situation came as a shock, Tzodikov and Gonzalez were still able to make light of the situation.
“I call the new dorm the timeshare because we’re there for a little bit and we have full access to it,” said Tzodikov, among chuckles.
UPDATE: This article was updated to include reactions from students who were affected by the leaks in their dorms.
UPDATE: (Feb. 3) This article was updated due to a production error to show a different version than the article that appears in print this week.