Water flooded the upper floors of Copley Hall shortly before midnight last night, damaging property and displacing students on one of the coldest nights of the year.

Collapsed ceiling panels covered the soaked floors in the middle of the fifth floor of Copley as Hall Director Mary Ellen Wade and Village C West Hall Director Cory Peterson helped students move their belongings and find alternate housing for the evening. The damage extended to the hallway, common room and utility closet, and water quickly dripped down to the third and fourth floors, which also sustained damage.

Approximately 10 dorm rooms, about half of which were on the fifth floor, were visibly damaged from the flooding by 1 a.m. this morning.

Department of Public Safety officers and cleanup crews from the university were on the scene shortly after flooding began.

Students said that a burst pipe was to blame, although the cause of the flood could not be confirmed last night.

Copley resident Jennifer Susco (NHS ’07), whose fifth-floor room sustained significant damage, said she was studying around 11:15 p.m. on Monday night when she noticed a clicking noise and a small leak coming from her air conditioning unit. She and her roommate Anna Driggers (SFS ’08) put a cup underneath the leak to collect the water, but the cup quickly filled up and the leak turned into a gush of water.

By 11:30 p.m., their floor was covered with about two inches of water, according to Susco. They were able to salvage their computers, but their clothes, bedding and coursework all sustained damage.

Lindsay Anderson/The Hoya

On the fourth floor, Laurel Korb (COL ’09) and Nora O’Malley (COL ’09) said that they heard the sound of dripping water around 11:30 p.m. and thought it was raining. The roommates then looked to their lighting fixture and saw that the water was coming from inside the building. They protected their computers, but their floor was soaked. They soon began moving many of their valuables into dry areas of the hallway.

Damage was progressively less extensive on the lower floors, and only around three third-floor rooms were visibly damaged as of last night. Third-floor resident Laura Young (COL ’09), who was visiting the fourth floor to view the damage, said that water had been flowing out of the closed doors to the north elevator shaft.

On all the floors, students crowded the halls to watch and help floormates move their belongings.

Susco said that the university was in the process of finding her and her roommate alternate housing for the evening and that they would be out of their rooms for at least several days. On the third floor, however, Dominique Adkins (COL ’08) said that she had not yet been contacted by Housing and Facilities and was planning to stay with a friend for the evening.

Other students had different plans. Fourth-floor resident Haeyoung Eom (COL ’08), who was studying for upcoming tests when the flood occurred, said she had not been contacted about an alternate room but planned to spend the remainder of the evening in the library.

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