Flooding from sprinkler damages rooms, displaces residents


Several rooms in the Little Building suffered water damage after a sprinkler erupted on the eighth floor, forcing some students to vacate their rooms indefinitely, remove their property, and stay up in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The Boston Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at 2:11 a.m. and left the campus at 2:41 a.m., after firefighters determined that a water leak caused the alarm to go off, according to Steve MacDonald, spokesman for the Boston Fire Department.

Jay Phillips, associate vice president for facilities and campus services, told the Beacon in an email that a student or her guest hit a sprinkler head.  

“Facilities responded within 30 minutes to begin cleaning up the water and damaged ceiling tiles, sheet rock and carpet,” wrote Phillips. “We typically remove wet ceiling tiles, sheetrock and carpet to mitigate the presence of mold and mildew depending on the level of saturation.”

The damaged sprinkler is located in room 824C.

Beth Vita, a resident of suite 324, said a facilities worker explained that because of the slope of the Little Building, the sprinklers that went off in 824C caused the most water damage in the A rooms in the suites on floors below.

Even though Vita said her room, 324C, did not suffer water damage, she removed her possessions, worried her property could be affected.

Vita’s suitmate, Olivia Harvey, who lives in 324A, said water was coming down from the ceiling tiles and pooling on the carpet floor.  

After putting her shoes and clothes in bins, Harvey, a sophomore visual and media arts major, said she and three of her four suitemates opted to sleep in the third floor’s common room.

Freshman Brittany Foley, a writing, literature, and publishing major who lives on the eighth floor, said although residents could return to their dorms after about 45 minutes, the fire alarms continued blaring until 4:20 a.m.

Resident Assistant Ashleigh Heaton said RAs were concerned with safety of the residents whose rooms were affected and thought there could potentially be an electrical fire, since the lights of suite 324 went out.

Heaton, an RA on the 11th floor, said RAs from all floors helped students move their belongings into unaffected rooms and offered options like common rooms, empty rooms, and other buildings for them to reside in temporarily.

“We had our debriefing last night to make sure everything was under control. A few RAs stayed up all night,” said the senior writing, literature and publishing major. “All the RAs came together to make sure everyone was safe.”

Heaton said she is unsure when relocated residents will be allowed back into their rooms.

Phillips said facilities, the Office of Housing and Residence Life, and the Office of the Dean of Students are investigating the cause and the damage to personal belongings. 


News editor Laura Gomez contributed to this report.