Around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, the apartment building at 2000 Commonwealth Ave. experienced a massive leak. All residents were evacuated and told to find other accommodations for the night. Students were directed to stay in the Courtyard Marriott of Brookline, in Robsham Theater, or with friends. According to several residents, some students had trouble finding housing and resorted to wandering around the neighborhood at 3 a.m. looking for a place to sleep.
A pipe broke on the 10th floor—likely due to freezing, but the exact cause is still unknown—and water began to cascade down the building to the basement level, according to Chief of BCPD John King. The leak has since been stopped, and repair is underway. Water from the leak is currently being extracted from rooms and common areas.
A fire alarm sounded around 1:30 a.m., according to Abigail Tatter, A&S ’16. At this point, she said, water was pouring down the elevator shafts and rooms in certain parts of the building were filled with four inches of standing water.
Outside of the building, police, firemen, and employees of the building were telling students that they could not go back inside, and that they should stay with friends, if they could. A security guard was taking students to Robsham Theater in his car, according to Tatter.
“There was a lot of chaos,” she said. “They weren’t letting people up and yet people were running up and down the stairs … getting things.”
Wednesday morning, Tatter, who slept in a friend of a friend’s house after spending time walking around the neighborhood, returned around 9 a.m. to grab her things before class. She was allowed upstairs, but had to be escorted because of stability concerns, she said.
Ryan King, CSOM ’16, lives on the seventh floor of the building. The floor of his room was wet, he said, but not nearly as bad the eighth and ninth floors. After the fire alarm, he said residents gathered in the lobby, where water was pouring out of the water fixtures. He received an email today saying that he would be able to move back into his room on Thursday, but other rooms have not received a definite time that they will be able to move back in.
King went to three houses of his friends that were locked before finding a place to sleep in a house on Gerald St.
“From what I gather, a lot of people in 2000 didn’t have anywhere to go,” he said. “It was mayhem, they definitely weren’t prepared for it. They were doing the best they could in the situation, they acted really quickly—I don’t think theres any protocol for mass flooding like that.”
The level of damage varied across the building. Some rooms will not be able to be reinhabited for an unknown amount of time, but the Office of Residential Life is currently working on a plan to rehouse as many students as possible back in the building, King said.
An email from the apartment’s management sent to residents just before 11 a.m. Wednesday morning asked that those who choose to stay in a hotel keep their receipts for reimbursement.
“The cause is yet to be determined, other than the fact that we have a sprinkler pipe that broke,” he said.
In addition to the incident in 2000 Commonwealth Ave., a pipe failure in the Flynn Recreation Complex Wednesday morning resulted in the closure of the building for the remainder of the day.
The heating system in the Plex failed early Wednesday morning. Upon opening, it was determined that the temperatures were not too low, and that the building could be opened. Later, a pipe failed in the women’s locker room, so they opted to close that area. A fire alarm related to the cold then sounded, so the decision was made to close to the Plex all of Wednesday, Director of Campus Recreation Caitriona Taylor said.
Campus Recreation is now working with facilities to be open Thursday, though they will have limited heat.
“In order to fix these issues and to ensure the safety of our members, we closed for the day,” Taylor said.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor