The morning of March 2, 2017 was an abnormal one for Sheahan Hall resident Shelby Kislowski. “I woke up to a loud sound of a pop. It popped and the hot water heater exploded sending hot water onto my room floor,” she says. This occurred at 4:45 in the morning on one of the few mornings that Kislowski, a Division 1 rower for the Marist Women’s Rowing team, was able to sleep in because of their practice being canceled. Due to the time the incident occurred, Marist’s Maintenance team was not yet on call for the day, so security responded and did their best to fix the issue, eventually turning off the lever that was left on and led to the flood of dirty water. “I was terrified, I was crying, because I thought I was going to lose all my stuff. I was angry, too, because it isn’t the first time it happened to me,” she says.

Kislowski reports that back in September 2016 there was indication of an issue with the protector cap that eventually led to the flood, when there was a small amount of water in her room. “I reported the issue, but it wasn’t ever addressed,” she says. At the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester, in January, Sheahan had a damaged roof and Kislowski’s room again had water in it. “The water would leak from the top of the windows and at the worst times sounded like rain,” Kislowski recalls. Maintenance did attend to the roof, however, Kislowski says the incident was still inconvenient.

According to William Rush, the Maintenance Operations Supervisor, what the maintenance team responds to year-to-year varies.  “During the school year, it depends on what students call in. Otherwise, we maintain the common areas,” Rush says. As for the flooding issue Kislowski faced, Rush has an explanation.

“Each building is designed different and Sheahan is a drain leg for the heating unit, and when they put those in they put those in with plastic caps. There is a handle directly above it. Those are supposed to be shut off, and it was left on. The cap deteriorates, and it can be inadvertently turned on,” says Rush. “At some point, someone turned it on. It could have been from the time she got there.”

When Maintenance responded to Kislowski, they explained the lever was on. “Maintenance tried to blame me and said I hit the lever, but you can’t blame me when I was sound asleep. The problem could have been avoided if they came and addressed the issue in September when I said there was water coming out,” she says.

Where the miscommunication occurred is unclear. However, according to Rush, sometimes the disconnect is in the nature of the reports. “There is a lot of variables. They could have responded to the call, and someone could have let them in and not found anything,” he says.

This issue is one that isn’t frequently occurring, especially in dorms besides Sheahan, the oldest of the four main freshman dorms at Marist, Rush assures. “They learned their lesson with Sheahan and upgraded the caps in Leo [the next freshman dorm constructed],” Rush says.

Kislowski luckily didn’t lose many personal items, though her rug had to be conditioned and wrung out due to water. “The Custodian cleaned up with a mop the best that he could. We had to roll up our rug because it was soaked through. My RA was confused, nothing could have prepared her for that. I was angry because I was living there, it wasn’t like it happened over break,” she says. Kislowski praises how her Resident Director handled the situation. “The Resident Director, Missy, was so good about it. She really was. She has on record reporting the leakage from the hot water heater,” she says.

Even after the issue, Kislowski, who had to reschedule a midterm due to the flood incident in March, is still frustrated. “We pay a lot of money to live here, and I will never get the two days I lost to the drama with my room back.”

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