At around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, a fault in a hot water valve in the basement of Nathaniel Rochester Hall (NRH, 43) caused serious flooding in the tunnels beneath the residence halls. The tunnels quickly filled with steam, reducing visibility to zero for several minutes. The building was evacuated, as Public Safety and Facilities Management Services rushed to contain the flood.
The exact cause of the accident is still unknown, but the flooding originated from a boiler line connected to the heating and cooling system located in the NRH tunnels. From there, water poured out to as far as the tunnels under Helen Fish Hall (FHA, 39) and Eugene Colby Hall (CHF, 37). The area was quickly sealed off, and the NRH elevators were temporarily shut down. Access to the elevators was restored after a short time, but the A-level remained closed. It took several hours to drain the water from the affected portion of the tunnels.
Immediately following the accident, the Corner Store was closed and did not re-open for the rest of the night. Reports from the store indicate that a substantial amount of product was destroyed in the flooding, although an estimate of the damages was not available at the time of this writing. A Corner Store representative assured that the flooding would not affect the store’s prices, as any damages would be covered by insurance.
The heating system malfunction caused a disruption in heat and hot water in Nathaniel Rochester Hall, Fish Hall, Carlton Gibson Hall (CGH, 49) and Sol Heumann Hall (SHH, 47). These facilities were not restored until Thursday evening, over 20 hours after the initial flooding. The issue has now been resolved, and all interrupted services have resumed.