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Sprinkler system causes flooding in men's wing of Butterfield Hall

April 12, 2023
<p>Flood clean-up equipment on the third floor of Butterfield Hall on April 12, 2023. The sprinkler system caused the flooding, which was accidentally turned on during a false fire alarm.</p>

Flood clean-up equipment on the third floor of Butterfield Hall on April 12, 2023. The sprinkler system caused the flooding, which was accidentally turned on during a false fire alarm.

Photo by Jada Vasser | The State News

A water flow alarm in Butterfield Hall and an item hanging on the sprinklers led to the men's wing to flood, leaving students' belongings wet and damaged.

Following what seemed like a normal false fire alarm, students returned to their dorms. However, the third floor of the men's wing of the building suffered mild flooding, impacting some students' dorms. Social media videos of the flooding show the abundance of water on the third floor.

One resident voluntarily relocated to Bryan Hall — pushed a moving cart carrying wet items covered by a towel until his unit dried out.

“I think the side panels got messed up,” he said. “Just a lot of water damage.”

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Moving carts and flood clean-up equipment on the third floor of Butterfield Hall on April 12, 2023. The flooding was caused by the sprinkler system, which was accidentally turned on during a false fire alarm.

Director of communications for the Division of Student Life Engagement Kat Cooper said that the flooding started from a sprinkler having an item hung on it in a dorm room on the third floor A wing. Local cleanup crews are already drying carpets as well as working with students if they have property damage.

“We do work with students if they have property damage during an event like this,” Cooper said. “In general, we work with students to clean things and if someone's books or laptop or anything like that gets destroyed, we do work with them on those items.”

Cooper said a flood earlier in the day can usually be dried out and resolved before the day is over, so students are not expected to have to relocate.

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Students' personal belongings in a moving cart following a small flood at Butterfield on April 12, 2023.

Tampering with fire systems in student living buildings is a criminal offense, Cooper said. However, there's no current evidence that this was a malicious event.

“If students are doing this maliciously, they can be held accountable,” Cooper said. “But we don’t generally press charges unless it’s some sort of malicious event.”

For resources or possible compensation for damaged items caused by the flooding, Cooper said students should contact their facilities manager through the Live On website or by calling (517) 884-5483.

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