Pipe breakage causes leakage and flooding in Junipero House

May 20, 2019, 12:00 a.m.

On Saturday at around 4:45 p.m., a water main break on the second floor of Junipero House in Wilbur Hall set off the fire alarm and caused leakage and flooding on first and second floor rooms in the south end of the dorm, according to multiple residents.

Junipero residents reportedly heard a “loud bang” on Saturday afternoon. According to Junipero Resident Assistant (RA) Brook Getachew ’19, the pipe “burst everywhere, into the hallway of the second floor.” Getachew said that the pipe was one connected to the dorm’s sprinkler system.

According to Junipero resident Izzy Pilson ’22, students witnessed water “pouring down in sheets” at the end of the second floor hallway. Getachew described the break as a “huge leak” with “pretty high pressure water.” Getachew subsequently instructed all residents to evacuate the dorm.

Right after the pipe breakage occurred, dorm residents “got messages through GroupMe and Slack saying … ‘you’re not allowed in the building right now,’” Pilson said.

The pipe breakage triggered the dorm’s fire alarm.

The fire department arrived five minutes after the fire alarm went off. The fire department shut off the pipe’s water source and drained out the existing water in the dorm. After an hour, the fire department left, and residents were allowed back in the dorm.

Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) spokesperson Bill Larson said he was unaware of the breakage when contacted by The Daily. The Palo Alto Police Department (PAPD) redirected inquiries back to SUDPS.

Pilson said that the second floor rooms suffered the most severe damages. According to Pilson, a RA’s room on the far end of the second-floor hallway was completely flooded.

“Pretty long after the leak had happened and the fire department was gone, there was two inches of standing water throughout his whole room,” Pilson said.

However, the third floor remained undamaged and running water in bathrooms remained unaffected.

Sal Spina ’22, another Junipero resident, said the water pipe breakage caused water to leak from the ceilings and resulted in a “massive puddle” on the floor of his first-floor room.

While Spina was not present in the dorm when the pipe burst, he received a FaceTime call from his roommate when the leakage began. His roommate advised him not to return to the dorm, forcing Spina to sleep in a friend’s room on Saturday night. Spina said his clothes and shoes were “soaked” due to the leakage.

Pilson, also a resident of the first floor, experienced water leakage from the ceilings as well. To reverse the water damage in the affected rooms, Residential and Dining Enterprises (R&DE) placed dehumidifiers and fans in the residences overnight.

As a result, Pilson and her two visiting friends spent Saturday night in a guest room in Lasuen, The Row’s housing front desk. She said that R&DE was helpful and prompt in providing alternative accommodations for residents of affected rooms.

As of Sunday night, Pilson was able to enter her room, which is still occupied by dehumidifying machines.

While the cause of the pipe breakage is unknown as of Sunday night, Spina heard from a female Junipero resident that another student had draped a wetsuit over a water pipe outside the dorm, which “blocked something important.”

R&DE will conduct a follow-up inspection tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.

Contact Alex Tsai at aotsai ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Alex Tsai ’21 is a senior staff writer for The Daily. Previous roles at The Daily include news desk editor and mobile app developer. Alex is majoring in Computer Science and is a member of the varsity lacrosse team.

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