Residents displaced, facilities suffer damage
THE SANTA CLARA
May 1, 2014
Students living in Swig Hall awoke to discover a surge of faucet water extending through the top four floors of the building last Thursday.
According to a Campus Safety Services report, two students living in Swig had left the faucet in their room running after clogging the sink with vomit as a result of ingesting alcoholic beverages. The two students fell asleep with the faucet running, and the flood was discovered several hours later on the carpeted hallways of Swig early Thursday morning.
There was a significant amount of water from the flood on the 10th floor of Swig. It flowed into several student rooms and reached as far down as the sixth floor.
Community Facilitator Tiffany Sarchet, who lives on the 10th floor of Swig, woke up at 5:45 a.m. Thursday to investigate an initial report of flooding on the seventh floor.
“There was an inch to an inch and a half of water on the 10th floor, and in the room (where the flooding started), there were one to two inches of water,” Sarchet said. “Another room across the hallway was flooded pretty badly, but most people just had large puddles by their doors.”
The water from the flood also penetrated both elevator shafts in Swig and harmed the electrical wiring in the elevators.
“As this water traveled down the elevator shaft, it damaged several elevator control components and wiring harnesses located in the shaft,” said Mako Ushihara, director of building operations. “Our elevator contractor, Paramount Elevator, was on site by 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and began completing repairs.”
According to Ushihara, repairs lasted until 7:30 p.m., at which point both elevator cars were put back into service.
Since the Swig hallways are carpeted, the water had to be removed using special equipment.
“Most of the water on the 10th floor was recovered from the carpet and inside the student rooms using Wet Vacs, mops and carpet extraction equipment,” said Ushihara. “Fans and dehumidifiers were installed on the 10th floor hallway and student rooms to make sure all areas were adequately dried out.”
Although the flood in Swig shut down elevators, reached four floors and encroached upon student rooms, Santa Clara has experienced flooding incidents in the past that damaged more university property than this recent incident.
“(The previous floods) caused more damage (and) displaced residents,” Ushihara said. “They were caused by heating system plumbing failures, by fire sprinklers that went off due to a small fire or by unexpected torrential rainfall and blocked storm drains or gutters.”
According to Ushihara, Housing and Residence Life staff members will ensure that damaged items belonging to residents will either be repaired or replaced.
Contact Sophie Mattson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.