Sprinkler Malfunction Floods Hadley Apartment



One week after classes began, residents in 102-D Hadley Village were forced to evacuate when the building's sprinklers were activated, drenching the building's interior.

At around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 7, all 13 buildings in the Hadley apartment complex were evacuated while residence hall and university personnel attempted to correct the malfunction.

Facilities workers informed at least one resident that the sprinklers ran for about 40 minutes, flooding the building with approximately 3,200 gallons of water, before being turned off.

John Grela, director of the University Police, initially concluded "the steam from the shower activated the alarm and caused the sprinkler system to go off. We believe that it was accidental. Nothing was done intentionally or in a negligent manner," said John Grela.

Joseph Krakowiak, director of administrative services of the university residence halls, later clarified the cause, saying that, "someone tampered with a sprinkler head."

Constance Lawrence, a junior nursing major who lives in the damaged apartment, was not at home when the flooding started.

"I don't know what happened. The water sprinklers apparently went off and my floor got wet near my closet," said Lawrence.

Alexis Lemon, a junior international studies major, lives in the apartment above the flood.

"The fire alarms went off in the whole building and then the sprinklers went off. The police were called but they had trouble figuring out what to do. As a result we were outside for at least a half an hour.

Rhiannon Rager, a junior anthropology major, was in the community building to pick up a package and witnessed the complaint. "The girl behind the counter tried calling people, but since it was after five the person in charge had gone home for the day. Someone was eventually on his or her way and still the girl was upset. The complaint was that half a foot of water was swimming on their floor and they wanted someone immediately."

Eric Slater, a junior computer science major, said, "Hadley was not very informative. They should have told the students how things work in their own apartments."

Elizabeth Lidano, associative director for university apartments, is in charge of overseeing the operations of the apartments and supervising the community center and each complex at Hadley Village.

"The way the lease reads, if it's an act of God or fault of student or malfunction then [insurance coverage of] the situation would vary," she continued. "We would have to look at the lease a bit closer.

"In general, students carry their own insurance. Homeowners and dormitories have already included coverage for insurance, and I would urge students to check."

"We know what the cause is and the insurance is covering it," said Krakowiak. "There's no loss to the individual."