A damaged bolt in the pipe fitting a water line caused the burst that flooded King Hall, said Craig Allen, TCU’s director of Housing and Residence Life.
The first floor flooded just after 10 p.m. on Jan. 28, setting off the emergency alarms and causing the evacuation of all floors.
“Everyone was rushed and no one knew quite what was going on,” said Faith Zacharias, a first-floor King Hall resident. “Some people didn’t even have shoes on.”
Video footage by Dawson Kundysek, a resident of King Hall, shows the weight of the water bursting through the ceiling.
While authorities assessed the situation, the residents were told they could either wait in the BLUU Auditorium or go somewhere else as long as they were in contact with someone nearby to get updates, Zacharias said.
Later that night, students on the upper floors of King Hall were allowed back inside, but first-floor residents received alternative housing assignments in vacant rooms across campus.
The bottom four feet of drywall had to be replaced in the hallways and in some rooms. In other rooms, the walls were dried with fans.
Allen said he’s thankful that this situation occurred in the spring semester as opposed to the fall because there wouldn’t have been enough vacancies to house all of the students affected.
First-floor residents were allowed back into their rooms the following day to retrieve enough supplies for two weeks, Zacharias said. Everything that remained in their rooms was packed into boxes and moved out before repairs began.
Even though residents on other floors were not forced to evacuate, they were also affected by the flood.
“We had fire alarms go off at 12:20 a.m. for two nights after the flood,” said Elizabeth Daniels, a resident on the fourth floor of King Hall.
The damaged alarm was just one of the inconveniences the remaining residents experienced; Daniels said the air conditioning system for the entire building was not working, they were unable to use the main lobby and the elevator was out of order.
In addition to the physical inconveniences, some residents are upset about the lack of communication they have received throughout the clean-up process.
“Very early on my R.A. was telling us that we should be getting email updates and we weren’t getting any for a good week,” Daniels said.
Some residents even sent TCU Housing a complaint email in regard to the lack of communication and signed it from the residents of King Hall.
“Not only have the issues been abrupt and disruptive, but the lack of response from TCU in terms of compensation or even appropriate acknowledgment demonstrates TCU’s general gross incompetence and the lack of respect and regard TCU has for its students’ integrity,” the email said.
How does TCU expect to cultivate ethical leaders and responsible citizens when, in large part, TCU itself fails to appropriately recognize the inconvenience it has caused its students?An excerpt from the complaint email to TCU Housing
The full email can be read here.
“I’m personally not mad but I know other residents are,” Daniels said. “It’s understandable. We’re going to have to deal with construction during the day. They have to get it fixed.”
This is also not the first time King Hall has had issues with pipes leaking. Allen said they had another pipe fitting on the first floor of King Hall that failed Dec. 20, 2019, just before students were released for winter break.
“Since this was the second time this has happened, something is off,” Allen said. “We’ve hired an independent third-party engineer to come and look at things. That’s why there’s still an ongoing investigation into this.”
Now, nearly a month later, first-floor residents of King Hall have all moved back into their rooms, Allen said.
“The fact that we already have it almost completely wrapped up is impressive,” Allen said. “An elevator is an elevator, a chilled water line is a chilled water line, but when students are impacted in their rooms where they live, that’s our most pressing concern.”