Pipe Bursts in Lee Hall, Floods Lobby

By Charles Lippolis, Staff Writter

The Lee Hall lobby was under a unique emergency lockdown last Monday afternoon, after a pipe ruptured, flooding the entrance to the building.

Alexandra Wroblewski, junior and Lee Hall resident was walking into the building after her day of classes at 2:30 p.m. Monday when the pipe burst in front of her and two security guards at the front desk.

Wrobleski heard a loud and unusual bang from the ceiling, and soon realized that the water was rising at an incredible rate.

“The water was gushing from the vending machine on the right side” said Wroblewski.

The water was coming from a pipe in the ceiling that connected to a fire alarm sprinkler, and according to Victor Schneider, assistant director of physical plant, the cold temperatures in the days prior were to blame.

“The pipe was cold due to the temperatures, and thawing on lead to pressure in the pipe” said Schneider.

Since these pipes are all interconnected and linked to the alarm system in case of fire, the incident in the lobby tripped the fire alarm in the building, reaching out to both the physical plant and FDNY.

For physical plant, this means they immediately take a back seat to the situation, as the threat of a fire or other hazardous incident that would set the alarm off moves the situation into the hands of the FDNY.

“The FDNY is in charge, we provide assistance” said Schneider.

So when the six first responders from physical plant arrived on the scene, they assessed the situation with the FDNY, and once they recognized the problem, and that the building was safe, they moved in to fix the issue.

The fix took 30 minutes all together, and there was help from the FDNY was well as other departments through the school such as Residence Life, Public Safety, and Housekeeping.

Residence Life was also very involved in the first response to the pipe split, as Residence Director Toni Baisden was in the building at the time of the incident and was able to help evacuate the building safely and securely.

“Whenever the alarm sounds in the building protocol is for everyone to use the stairwells and vacate the building” said Baisden.

In her first experience with such a situation at Manhattan College, Baisden was able to keep a cool head, help evacuate the building safely, and assist physical plant in the clean-up process.

For all of Manhattan College staff, the student safety was the main priority, and with the situation concealing its harmlessness until the moment it could be tending to, those on hand to solve the issue made sure that no stone went unturned in safely and securely resolving this issue.