Bursting pipes drown out dream time


Nathan Bottiger, Editor-in-Chief

Last semester, Pitt-Johnstown students saw pipes burst in Biddle Hall classrooms, and now, fresh off winter break, students experienced similar incidents but, this time, in at least one dormitory.

Freshman Alex Taylor, a Maple Hall resident, experienced a Jan. 8 water pipe burst that displaced freshmen into the early hours.

Taylor said the incident created some confusion. Sleeping students were greeted by the blare of a fire alarm and the moist spray of a sprinkler system.

“I was asleep. The alarm went off, so I woke up. I rushed into the hall, looked to my left, and saw the sprinkler going off. I looked at Wade (his roommate) and said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’”

Taylor said housing workers arrived around 4:30 a.m. to begin relocating the awakened students. The students waited an additional 30 minutes for sheets and blankets to be distributed before finally being placed in Hickory Hall basement emergency rooms.

Taylor said some students preferred staying awake rather than sleeping, and those who found time to rest were not able to do so until well after 5 a.m.

He said there was no damage to his room directly, but some of his board games were damp with water.

Taylor said he heard some ceiling tiles needed replacement in rooms below his.

Maple Hall Resident Assistant Anna Macugoski said residents have been drying out their rugs and other possessions since the burst.

Taylor said he heard the cause was attributed to the below-zero temperatures causing pipes to freeze in some rooms where heating units were not active.

Macugoski agreed the pipe burst from the cold, but that the heaters were on.

Because the pipe was near a wheelchair accessable door, which stays open longer, the heaters couldn’t keep up, said Macugoski.

Those affected were given complimentary laundry service to wash clothing wet from the burst, she said.

It was unclear how many buildings were affected by pipes bursting with the cold, but action was taken, giving residence assistants the responsibility of preventing any further incidents.

Senior residence assistant Michael Imgrund was informed via email of the issue and was told to assure heat was on in all rooms.

Imgrund said he and other residence assistants checked all vacant rooms in the Living Learning Center to ensure the heating systems were turned on. He said they also went door to door to inform occupants.

“We went door to door, telling residence to keep the heat on.”

Imgrund said he was told that the Living Learning Center had the lowest probability of experiencing these types of issues, and luckily the building was unaffected during the cold spell.

Imgrund said all the students he spoke with were cooperative.