Pipe bursts, water fills Fondren Science after four-day freeze
Published: Monday, February 7, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
While snow and ice covered the ground Saturday afternoon, it rained inside Fondren Science Building.
A pipe that was part of the cupola fire secretion system burst, caused flooding in the attic, that then drained down to all three floors of the building.
Assistant to the Dean of Dedman College Melissa Humason and her husband, the chemistry lab coordinator, were among the first people on the scene. Humason received a call around 1 p.m. and arrived on campus about ten minutes later.
SMU police responded quickly as well.
Upon arrival, Humason was not allowed inside until the fire department checked for chemical spills.
Once the building was cleared, it was sprayed with biocide and the floors were treated to prevent mold growth.
SMU Director of Facilities Services, Bob Casagrande estimated that water was pouring out of the pipes at around 200 gallons a minute for one to two hours.
Both Casagrande and Fred Olness, chair of the physics department, said the building was a disaster Saturday.
"There was standing water in the hallways and ceiling tiles were on the ground. It was quite a mess," Olness said.
The water was controlled around 2 p.m., roughly one to two hours after the pipe burst due to freezing temperatures.
Mooring Recovery Services, which specializes in fire and flood restoration and mold remediation, had cleanup crews begin work at 5 p.m. Crews worked through the night and Sunday to ensure classes could be held in the building Monday.
The goal Saturday was to move things away from the water and make sure the classrooms were ready for Monday.
"We did not want to miss more classes after missing so many classes this week due to the weather," Olness said.
According to Humason, originally five to seven classes needed to be moved into different classrooms, but as of Sunday afternoon, only one class needs to be held in a different room.
Olness said of the 12 physics faculty offices, six offices were hit but three received severe damages.
"Luckily the research labs were spared but the offices were hit hard," he said. "It was raining in the offices. Water was pouring in from the ceiling tiles."
The west side of the building acquired more damage than the east side, according to Professor Stephen Sekula, whose office is on the east side.
Sekula was impressed with the efficiency and professionalism of the cleanup crews.
"Police were sweeping the building very frequently to watch for any attempt to remove property from the building and the cleanup crews were asking for names of people who were in the building to make sure they were there for a good reason," he said. "They were very professional and it set me at ease to see them working so hard to recover the building."
The cost of the damages could not be estimated as of Sunday evening. No one is certain at this time of what lab equipment is damaged or what books will need to be replaced.
Classes will still take place in Fondren Science Building Monday. However, the elevator will not be up and running until around 12 p.m.