A frozen pipe burst last night around 10:30 in Timothy Dwight College, submerging one bedroom in three to four feet of water and displacing the residents of two suites in the college.
Students from both suites in TD’s entryway A were not allowed to immediately return to their rooms Tuesday night for fear of electrical fires due to water contact with light fixtures and the possibility that the ceiling could collapse from the weight of the water. The third-floor bedroom of Andrew Ralph ’06 was flooded with water, while the other suite sustained damage to its hallway area, Yale Police said.
Ralph, who is staying in the TD master’s guest suite until it safe to return to his room, said he did not see the flooding when he evacuated his suite after fire alarms went off throughout the college. Soon after firemen arrived, Ralph said he and his suitemates heard a commotion coming from their entryway and went over to investigate. They found a flood of water streaming down the stairs from the third floor.
A University Police officer said he was doubtful the 9 students in both suites would be allowed to return to their rooms last night.
“My guesstimate, maybe not,” said the officer, who asked not to be named.
Firefighters responding to the scene found a burst water main in the attic directly above Ralph’s room, the officer said. The firefighters determined the pipe had frozen as a result of a window’s having been left ajar in the attic. Access to the attic was supposed to be secured, but firefighters found the area accessible, he said.
Pascal Noel ’06, who was displaced from the other suite, said he and his roommates were angry the window had been left open all semester.
“We were cold in our room for a while, and we noticed the window was open a couple of days ago,” Noel said.
Ralph said he was concerned about his belongings, though he said he was relieved when firefighters told him his computer, which was on a desk, was not damaged.
“I have everything in there,” Ralph said.
But Michael Smith ’07, one of Noel’s suitemates, said he was relieved the damage was not more extensive than officials had reported at first.
“It’s not that big a deal,” Smith said. “It’s kind of funny, actually, but more annoying than anything.”
The flood is TD’s third of the school year. Two previous floods last fall resulting from heavy rains caused sewage to fill the basement and rendered the kitchens inoperable. In November 2003, a fire broke out in Rosenfeld Hall, the TD annex, but did not spread beyond one bedroom.
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