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Sprinkler Soaks Stoughton Room

By Alexander J. Finerman, Contributing Writer

Yard dormitories offer their first year residents many special amenities, but the inhabitants of Stoughton Hall North 22 didn’t expect a wading pool to be a sudden addition to the list.

Susannah M. Dickerson ’06 was sitting in her window seat chatting around 5:00 p.m. last night, she said, when a sprinkler in her room started gushing water while the fire alarm began blaring.

“I thought a pipe had burst,” she said. “It seemed like oil coming out, it smelled like oil.”

According to Caroline K. Pemberton ’06, Dickerson’s roommate, the sprinkler “was hit.” Pemberton declined to elaborate further on the cause of the incident.

Two and a half hours later, most of the water was cleared from the room, and Dickerson and Pemberton were able to survey the damage. They said the indoor deluge took them by surprise.

“There was screaming,” Pemberton said. “It was gross, dirty water.”

Wringing out a stuffed lion doll dripping with gray water, she said, “that’s sad and disgusting.”

“This is the best day, except not at all,” said Caitlin Monahan ’06, a friend of Dickerson and Permberton’s, as she paused from a rapid-fire cell phone conversation with her father recounting the day.

This is not the first physical plant failure to befall Stoughton, which was renovated in 1994 Two years ago, the ceiling in North 29 fell to the floor, resulting in an overnight evacuation for all fourth-floor Stoughton residents.

The girls see a relation between the two incidents.

The sprinkler incident is “carrying on the curse of Stoughton,” Monahan said.

Luckily, the roommates said, there did not seem to be too much property damage.

“We all ran out, and then it occurred to me that all my stuff was in there,” Pemberton said. “I literally had to come wading back in for my computer.”

Dickinson’s side of the room remained mostly dry.

“Thank God the floors are slanted anyway, the water poured in the right direction,” Pemberton said, as Dickinson turned on her printer which sat on the floor. The machine whirred back to life effortlessly.

“All the water flowed out the door,” Pemberton added.

The water also crept under the fire door and pooled in the next door room of Olivia Jennings’06 and Sarah Kennifer’06, and seeped through the floor, creating a sort of indoor deluge for downstairs neighbors John Ames’06 and Pat Dowd’06.

Pemberton said the two “were not, like, pleased,” with damage to Dowd’s things, which they called “probably the worst [damage] out of anyone’s.”

As she spoke, a facilities employee stepped on the landing a floor below, noting, “this carpet’s very wet.”

Pemberton explained that there was “kind of like a flood coming down the stairs.”

Near the sprinkler, Pemberton rescued a soaked but partially completed plan of study form.

Monahan said that “it was totally salvageable,” according to Freshman Dean Elizabeth Studley Nathans

The commotion riled other Stoughton residents, including Proctor Jorge Elorza.

“I was laying down,” he said, “and I heard the [fire] alarm, thought it was a fire, came in, threw the door open.”

But although they suffered some damage, members of the College administration took steps to minimize the incident’s impact.

Pemberton’s face brightened as a crew came in with a new mattress to replace her now soggy one.

“The one I had before was awful,” she said. “I was, like, having back problems from the old mattress.”

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