Sprinkler Floods Casa 2

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Stevenson Casa 2 residents moved their belongings out of the building with cardboard boxes and yellow move-out bins. Photo by Josephine Joliff

All residents of Stevenson College Casa 2 had to find a last-minute place to spend the night on Sunday.

Students evacuated the building and gathered out front, where they met firefighters, campus security officers and a resident advisor. The firefighters barred students from entering the building until they could complete an inspection, which lasted about three hours. At 11 p.m., students had about five minutes to collect anything they needed for the night, said second-year Mark Nathan Gonzales, Casa 2 resident. 

Sprinklers flooded the first and second floors of Casa 2 at about 8 p.m. on May 5. A first-year student on the second floor hit an uncovered sprinkler with his head, setting off most of the sprinklers on the first two floors.

“In the room there are pipes that are pretty close to the upper bunks, so it’s pretty easy to hit,” said first-year Shun Kashiwa, whose roommate set off the sprinkler. “We didn’t have stuff to cover the sprinkler. They usually have it, but we didn’t.”

After the firefighters’ inspection, a cleaning company removed the carpeting from the hallways and set up fans to dry the floors.

Associate Director of Student Life at Cowell and Stevenson Colleges Richard Baker sent an email to Casa 2 residents at 11:30 p.m. Sunday encouraging students to find alternative sleeping arrangements for the night. At 9:45 a.m. the next day, Baker sent a second email to all Cowell and Stevenson residents.

“For students with open bed spaces in your room, you should expect to have a new roommate shortly,” Baker said in an email. “We will be working today to assign students officially and let you know the name of your new roommate and the reality is that some students will be assigned before we can notify you more officially. Please ensure that your room is clear and ready for a new roommate.”

Later that day at about 4:30 p.m., Baker sent another email to Casa 2 residents informing them the third floor had been cleared for occupancy. Displaced Casa 2 residents filled all open beds on the third floor. The housing office assigned the remaining first and second floor residents to open beds throughout Cowell and Stevenson Colleges by the time of Baker’s email.

Residents of the first and second floors will likely be unable to return to their rooms for the remainder of the academic year while cleaning is  underway.