Residence Halls and Suites Plagued by Fires and Flooding

Photo Credit / Adam Walker

By Lauren Hernandez
Staff Writer

Do students feel safe living in the suites? Late at night on Jan. 24, a fire occurred in Hemlock Suites.

Over the winter break, multiple rooms and even the Residence Life office were flooded.

The Sycamore Suites have flooded twice since their Fall 2017 opening.

“I remember sitting in my room playing video games, and when I heard the alarm I thought they were coming from my game,” says Gus Umaña, a Hemlock resident. He continued, “I still thought it was a drill until I went outside.”

Umaña explained that residents were left outside with little to no information about what was happening.

Later, students were instructed to go to the library because they would not be able to get back into their rooms any time soon.

Students were kicked out of the library once it struck midnight.

Students were then instructed to huddle into Hemlock’s main lounge, on the other side of the building.

No one was able to get back into their room until roughly 2 a.m. The first floor was completely flooded.

The fire was sparked by a dryer, much like the Laurel Hall fire last spring.

Unlike Laurel, a pipe burst in the Hemlock laundry room, which caused the flooding.

Residents on the second floor were fine, but several students said the smell was overwhelming and terrible.

The entire residence hall’s water was turned off for about a day. No one could shower because only brown water came out of faucets and showers.

Over the break, Megan Parks, another resident in Hemlock, started her spring semester putting her room back together because of the failed insulation of a water pipe.

“I had brand new carpet and the walls were painted and fixed, but they just stacked all of my stuff on top of each other” said Parks. “They didn’t even tell me they would be touching my stuff and moving it. It gave me anxiety because I was the first person back into my room.”

Parks also shared that her roommate’s comforter had paint on it.

Her room was very dusty and even her furniture was moved. Workers left her bed in the middle of her room.

Though her carpeting needed to be completely pulled and replaced, she was told her room had the least damage.

Her room had three inches of water inside it at the time of the flooding.

The Residence Life and Housing Office was completely destroyed by the flood and is currently being rebuilt.

A student who requested to remain anonymous stated the ceiling was completely gone, the floors were destroyed and there was debris everywhere.

The Residence Life and Housing Office is being temporarily housed at a different area in Hemlock.

Sycamore, the newest addition to the suites, has already had two flooding incidents.

Before the fall semester even started students were temporarily housed in a nearby hotel due to flooding.

On Jan. 25, Jessica Pevny, a sophomore who lives in Sycamore, was alerted her room was flooded.

It started in the bathroom, but no one told her how the flood started.

Fortunately, nothing of value was damaged. She wasn’t allowed back into her room until the night of Jan. 31.

All of the suite-style buildings were fully built within eight months. Students are beginning to lose trust in the integrity of the rooms they’re paying over $4,000 per semester to live in.

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