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Christopher Mika (COL ’12) has consistently had trouble with heat in his dorm, Darnall Hall, but knew something had gone terribly wrong when he saw a flood of water on his floor on Saturday evening. Mika and other residents of the third floor of Darnall called facilities at the first notice of water in the hallway. Although facilities fixed the burst pipe quickly, according to Mika, residents of Darnall had not yet experienced the worst of their problems during the weekend.

Students woke on Sunday morning to find that a second heating pipe had burst, leading to additional flooding in multiple rooms. While students waited approximately two to three hours for facilities to arrive, according to Mika, they had to handle things themselves.

“Usually you wouldn’t notice a current, but there was [one in the hallway],” Mika said. “Everything was wet, [and] we had to pack belonging[s] and put them on beds. People were up all night, cleaning up with inappropriate tools – socks, mops and garbage cans – to very little avail.”

Andy Pino, director of Georgetown’s media relations, said problems with Darnall’s boilers caused the loss of heat and the flooding.

“Over the weekend, Facilities management received a few calls from residents who had lost heat in their rooms,” he said. “The loss of heat was attributed [to] a malfunction in the central plant’s boilers, which consequently caused a few pipes to freeze and burst.”

Some of the residents of Darnall’s third floor called facilities numerous times about the problems with heat, prior to the ruptures. According to Pino, these calls led to the discovery of the damaged boiler.

“Facilities management was able to identify the boiler problem and restore heat to residences within just a few hours of receiving the bulk of the `no heat’ calls,” he said. “Facilities resolved the issue with the boilers and conducted further inspections of residential heating units to make sure the problem was contained.”

While the university reminds students every winter that freezing temperatures can lead to pipe bursts – residents are prompted to keep windows closed and their heat set on low in order to avoid problems – little can be done when the boilers, which provide a building with heat, fail, Pino said.

While the water has since been cleaned up in Darnall, health concerns remain for many. Some students fear that the water could lead to mold and other allergy problems.

“I’ve noticed my allergies acting up,” Mika said.

The water also brought along a foul stench, which remained on the floor and in the rooms for days as the university has begun the process of shampooing the carpets.

Pino said the university is aware of the smell and the allergy issues, and is working to address these problems.

“[The university is] working with the affected students to make sure their rooms are cleaned and treated as needed,” he said. “Those rooms are also being inspected to make sure there is no mold.”

The students involved were provided with additional housing while their rooms were being treated, Pino added.

“The affected students were offered alternate space while the issues were resolved, and Facilities is working with them to make sure their rooms are cleaned and treated as needed,” he said.

According to Mika, though, many students stayed on other floors or with friends during this process.

Not only were multiple students left displaced, but many are also beginning the process of cleaning their clothes. Facilities, the Office of Student Housing and the Office for Communications have yet to respond to inquiries regarding money for laundry.

Water pipes also burst in LXR over the weekend. The ruptured pipes, located on the roof, resulted in water leaking through the walls and the ceilings of floors two through five. No residential rooms were directly affected by this burst. The pipe was repaired and the water was cleaned quickly.

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