Sarah Skinner / Sun Assistant News Editor

Leaked water from the broken pipe pools on tables in a physics lab on the second floor of Rockefeller Hall. The lab is closed until future notice.

January 23, 2019

Frozen Pipe Bursts in Rockefeller Hall Attic, Flooding Classrooms

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Buzzing alarms and rushing water drowned the quiet top floor of Rockefeller Hall late Tuesday night when a pipe in the attic burst, dousing the building in water that gushed out the windows and splattered onto the concrete below.

Water poured out of the northwest corner of the building for at least 60 minutes and Cornell emergency services were on the scene to monitor the situation.

“It happens when it gets real cold, the places that aren’t insulated well, aren’t heated well, the pipes will actually freeze,” a Cornell Environmental Health and Safety responder told The Sun outside the building. “It typically doesn’t break until after it thaws.”

The responder confirmed that the burst pipe was inside the attic. Water drenched the second-floor physics lab, seeping into the carpet, soaking waiting electrostatics demonstrations, and pooling on lab tables and around computers.

Rockefeller Hall was built in 1904 and renovated in 1980. It houses a variety of classrooms and lecture halls, including the Asian American Studies Resource Center on the top floor.

The building met all requirements for a certificate of compliance in May, though an impairment notification was filed for the building’s sprinkler system in late March.