A pipe in Low Rise 6 burst on Thursday afternoon during a low-temperature spell, flooding areas of the first floor, cutting internet access for the night and briefly evacuating students into the cold.
Low Rise Residence Hall Director Mark Schneider alerted residents that a pipe burst in the first-floor Residential Advisor office at around 1 p.m., according to emails obtained by The Sun.
“The main entrance is flooded. We have building and facilities working to address the issue. For the time being, please use the back entrance to enter and exit the building,” Schneider said in the email.
Water leaked into the computer room, and the RHD told residents that it will need “additional work.” Schneider also told students that internet services would be out “until facilities is positive that there is no further risk to the equipment in the basement.”
Fire alarms were sounded and students evacuated the building to an outdoor average temperature of 3 degrees, according to Cornell’s Northeast Regional Climate Center. The ground floor area also filled with steam, Daniella Pena ’22, a low rise resident, told The Sun.
“The fire alarm went off and I thought it was just a [fire] drill,” Pena said.
“We all went outside and as we were walking out the door there was steam coming from the RA office,” Pena continued. “Then we looked at the window and there was boiling water, but you couldn’t see with the blinds and there was steam coming out. That’s when it got concerning.”
Fire services came and students were eventually allowed back into the building. Some flooding did occur in the building, but the flow was soon staunched, according to an email from Schneider.
At 2:48 p.m., Schneider sent another message to residents, in which he reported that the pipe was fixed, but some furniture had to be removed and some carpet was still damp.
“It appears that the water damage from the burst pipe is mostly confined to the RA office and some of the maintenance rooms in the basement. Please still use the back entrance while facilities [are] working in the lobby,” Schneider continued.
Conner Carpenter ’22 came back to dropping temperatures when he returned to his room.
“It was a rude awakening of freezing temperatures, both inside and out,” he told The Sun.
“It is colder,” said Olachi Nwuke ’22. “I don’t think my heater is working.” She remarked that the heat wasn’t working both inside the rooms and out in the hallways.
Some students stayed in the residence, but others tried to escape the cold. Carpenter said he saw people going to Robert Purcell Community Center to “hang out,” and Schneider also advised residents to go to RPCC if they wanted to use the internet.
This is not the first heating or water issue Cornell students have dealt with this semester. Some first-year dorms, also on North Campus, were devoid of heat on Jan. 22, and an attic pipe burst Jan. 23 in Rockefeller Hall due to low temperatures, causing flooding on five floors of the academic building.
According to the email sent to residents, the dorm’s internet will not be restored until Friday at the earliest.