Students Evacuated Due to Flooding in Simpson Residence Hall

Leen Yassine | The PhoenixStudents were evacuated after Simpson Living-Learning Center flooded Saturday.

All students in Simpson Living-Learning Center were evacuated Saturday evening following flooding caused by broken pipes, according to an email sent to Simpson residents by the Department of Resident Life.

The water leakage was the result of a sprinkler head which burst due to the cold temperatures. Flooding occurred in the lobby and east side of the first floor of Simpson, flooding four office areas, the east hallway and stairs, the desk lobby, the outer lobby and some of the dining hall, according to the email.

A mitigation team was on the scene soon after the incident, according to Kana Henning, Associate Vice President for Facilities at Loyola.

Clare Kownacki, an 18-year old first-year who lives on the fifth floor of Simpson, said she was in the building during the flooding. The students in the building were alerted by the fire alarm so everyone was evacuated, she said.

“I didn’t know it was a flood, I thought it was a fire,” the international studies and Spanish major said.

The students were evacuated for about one hour, Kownacki said. She said she texted her mom immediately after the flooding at around 8 p.m. and again when they were allowed to re-enter the building around 9 p.m.

Kownacki estimated there was about two to three inches of water on the floor.

“My feet were soaking wet,” Kownacki said. “A lot of people’s feet were wet because nobody was prepared.”

Residence Life, Campus Safety, as well as Loyola’s Engineering, Maintenance and Custodial staff have been working together since the flood to prevent further flooding, according to the email.

While a team of external contractors worked on removing carpet, baseboards and drywall on Sunday, items won’t be replaced until moisture levels “reach a sufficiently low level  over a sustained period of time,” the Department of Residence Life said in the email.

Until the repair process is completed, which might take two to three weeks, the east entrance to Simpson Hall will be closed.

On Tuesday, the mitigation team informed Henning that moisture level is safe for reconstruction, which will begin on Friday.

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