Bhargav ArimilliMercury Staff
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its original publication.
Students living in Residence Hall South were given an unwelcome surprise on Jan. 20 when a ceiling steam pipe burst, flooding the first floor and temporarily closing the building.
The flooding, which occurred shortly after 1 p.m., also led to a building-wide water outage. Though the residence hall lobby was the most affected by the flood, some student rooms incurred damage as well.
Shortly after the event, residents were evacuated and UTD police blocked off the building. Andrew Swanson, a first floor resident of South and a freshman majoring in finance, was among those evacuated.
“I was in my room when I heard the alarm go off,” he said. “When I got to the lobby, the entire floor around the info desk was visibly wet and there was a torrent of water falling from the ceiling near the mailboxes. In all honesty, I think campus officials handled the situation pretty well.”
Students who were returning to the residence hall from classes or other activities were not allowed to enter. Joanna Haug, a freshman majoring in psychology, joined those waiting outside.
“I was coming back from working out and all I wanted to do was shower and get some work done, so I was really frustrated that I couldn’t even get in the dorm,” she said. “I think better and more continuous upkeep is probably the solution.”
The building reopened at approximately 3 p.m. At that time, the front lobby was still closed for repairs, forcing residents to access their rooms from the backdoors. Running water was restored to the residence hall shortly after 8:30 p.m.
Ryan White, the assistant vice president for Residential Life, said several students had to relocate to different rooms within the res hall and they will move back to their original rooms after the repairs are finished. He said the ruptured steam pipe has been fixed and the affected areas were slated to be dried by Jan. 24.
White said further repairs will start this week. There is not yet an estimate on the cost of the damage.