A sprinkler pipe burst at Toad’s Place club early Tuesday morning, evacuating the club, and prompting a fight as a horde of Yale students spilled out onto York Street.
Just after 1 a.m. one of the sprinkler pipes above the main dance floor fell into the crowd below, striking several people, five eyewitnesses told the News just outside of the Toad’s entrance. When the pipe became dislodged, the entire sprinkler system went off, flooding the room and sending an alert to the New Haven Fire Department, said Lieutenant Mark Vendetto, the commanding NHFD officer on the scene. Although Toad’s manager Ed Dingus confirmed that a pipe had burst, he refused to comment on whether anyone had been hurt by the falling bar.
“I was just trying to dance and a bar fell on my head,” Jamie Biondi ’12 said, rubbing his head.
Biondi told the News that he was not hurt — although another student asked firefighters to check him out — but he said the sprinkler pipe fell on several other people as well, so he did not know if there had been any injuries.
Although Toad’s had evacuated before the fire department arrived on York Street, a fight broke out on the west side of the road due to the the large crowds. Police intervention was required to quell the clamor, New Haven Police Department Sergeant Chris Rubino said on the scene. Police only made one arrest during the fight, but commanded that the large crowd disperse: one officer on a megaphone demanded that pedestrians leave the sidewalk and others guided students away from the corner of York and Broadway.
Once crowds dissipated, at least 10 members of Toad’s staff began pushing water from the flooded club out on to the street — by the time the sprinklers turned off, nearly an inch of water had pooled on the floor. As plastic cups and hoop earrings floated on the water pouring out of the club’s front door, Toad’s staff surveyed the damage.
“Check out how wet it is,” one said, lifting up the wood flooring on the stage. “It’s completely saturated.”
Vendetto said Toad’s was responsible for replacing their own sprinkler system, but that, as the commanding officer on the incident, he would be filing a formal complaint with the fire marshal about the broken pipe.
Monday night’s Toad’s Place dance party was only open to Yale students and their guests, according to a Sunday promotional email from the club.