Flooded Stilesians move to hotel

Parents were not the only occupants at the Courtyard Marriott hotel this Family Weekend.

Some students have taken up temporary residence there after water flooded rooms in Ezra Stiles College at approximately 3 p.m. last Thursday. Yale is covering the costs of the hotel rooms, said the student who caused the flood, and she will not be held responsible for facilities damages since the flooding was accidental. Though Yale is not liable for the costs of the personal property damage, Ezra Stiles Master Stephen Pitti has offered to pay for students to have their wet clothes dry cleaned.

Displaced by a flood, Sophie Leung '11 is staying at the Marriott.
Murphy Temple
Displaced by a flood, Sophie Leung '11 is staying at the Marriott.
Sophie Leung '11 settles in her hotel room while a cleanup crew tends to Stiles College.
Murphy Temple
Sophie Leung '11 settles in her hotel room while a cleanup crew tends to Stiles College.

A sophomore on the fourth floor of entryway C, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accidentally broke the sprinkler head near the closet in her bedroom while attempting to hang clothes on it. Water flowed from the pipe for 15 minutes before it could be shut off, she said.

The water ultimately flowed down the stairs and into some rooms on both the third and fourth floors of entryways B and C, which share a staircase. The floors of the affected rooms were covered in a thin layer of water, which also dripped out windows and trickled to the lower levels down the outsides of heating pipes. Students living near the affected rooms noted that the damage was widespread but unequal, with some rooms only having small puddles near the doors while others had water throughout that soaked students’ rugs.

Pitti promptly notified students of the damage in an e-mail, and the cleanup began soon afterward. But students, including Deva Altamirano ’10, quickly recognized other signs of the water, such as an unusual smell.

Soon after the scope of the required cleanup operations became apparent, Pitti reserved several rooms for students at the Courtyard Marriott on Whalley Avenue. The sound of drying fans, the extra space required to dry clothes and the smell drove some students to accept Pitti’s offer and spend the weekend in the hotel.

Though Pitti declined to provide the number of students that slept in the hotel, a front desk agent at the Courtyard said that out of 10 rooms that Pitti reserved and paid for Thursday night, eight were used. These students slept in rooms by themselves with two queen-sized beds. Seven of these students stayed through Monday, but Carolina Cooper ’11 left after one night, citing the inconvenience of walking between the hotel and Stiles and the relatively small amount of damage to her room as the reasons for her departure.

Students had widespread praise for Pitti’s fast response and helpfulness throughout the flooding. In addition to having cleanup crews at Stiles since Thursday to dry the rooms, Pitti arranged for a crew to sanitize the rooms Monday, Cooper noted. Students will be able to move back into their rooms at that time, Pitti said.

Still, Altamirano said she thinks the incident is indicative of larger problems in the Stiles facilities.

“The whole thing just reiterates that Stiles needs to be renovated,” Altamirano wrote in an e-mail. “There’s always a clogged shower or broken toilet or leaks or something here.”

Pitti acknowledged that there have been other floods caused by broken sprinklers in the past, including one last year. But he said in-room sprinklers would be equally likely to cause floods in any of the residential colleges.

Ezra Stiles College is set to be renovated during the 2010-’11 school year.

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