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During the early morning hours on Thursday, October 27, 2022, a sprinkler system pipe burst that flooded most rooms and public spaces in Slusher Tower. Virginia Tech’s Facilities and Operations team was immediately onsite, and clean up and repairs began quickly. Water extraction was largely completed in the residence hall by Thursday afternoon, allowing residents to return to their rooms.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation at this time.

  • 1:05 a.m.: Fire alarm sounds caused by water flow indicator in sprinkler system.
  • 1:30-1:40 a.m.: Fire department shuts off water to sprinkler system, fire pumps.
  • 2:20 a.m.: University facilities staff onsite.
  • 2:30 a.m.: Water extraction starts while building and room assessment continues.
  • 2:45-3 a.m.: Slusher Wing and crossover lounges for remaining students who had not went to other campus locations are cleared. Notices sent to students. Fire watch rotation starts.
  • 8 a.m.: Students are notified they can return to their rooms for medications and essentials with an escort and that showers are available.
  • 8:20 a.m.: Students are notified that they can return to rooms with Slusher Wing restrooms/showers available.
  • 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.: Dehumidifiers and carpet fans are placed throughout the building. Primary extraction is completed, bathrooms cleaned. Sprinkler pipe repaired and sprinkler system restored. Fire watch ends.
  • 4:15 p.m.: Students are notified that building is available for use. Most Tower bathrooms are cleared and cleaned for use.
  • 5:30 p.m.: Night housekeeping staff is stationed in Slusher for continued site work.

Ongoing Safety and Precautionary Measures

As of 10 a.m. on Friday, October 28, testing of student rooms and common spaces for humidity, temperature, and moisture will take place and some rooms will receive a remote sensor for on-going monitoring.

A combination of testing options — including pin-testing into solid surfaces, FLIR cameras, and general temp/humidity sensor — will be on-going for several weeks. As readings are made, the staff will adjust dehumidifier and fan locations to address any underperforming locations and/or remove devices as the readings fall below standard metrics.

Students may request a time for Housekeeping staff to enter their rooms to mop the floors with a disinfectant mixture.


Updates

November 17, 5 p.m.

Over the Thanksgiving Break, Facilities staff will be working in Slusher Tower to continue our recovery process. Staff may enter rooms on Sunday and Monday to add dehumidifers in student rooms on a temporary basis, with the goal to have any placed in student rooms removed before the end of the break period.

Students who return early from break and find a dehumidifer still in their room may unplug it and place it in the hallway for pick-up.


November 11, 10:11 a.m.

We greatly appreciate your patience as our Facilities staff has worked with our elevator service company to source parts for the Slusher Tower elevators. As of this morning, one of the elevator cars has been returned to service and can now be used by our residents.

We do not have an estimated date of repair for the second elevator, but we will notify residents when it is also returned to service.


November 4, 4:27 p.m.

We appreciate our residents continued patience as our facilities staff have been working steadily to complete remediation work in Slusher Tower.

Below you will find our latest operational updates:

All Bathrooms are in Full-Service.

  • The bathrooms on the 1st, 5th, and 6th floors have been cleaned and reopened for resident use. As of now, all Slusher Tower bathrooms have been returned to full-service.

Additional Testing Scheduled for Next Week.

  • A visual inspection for mold, spore sampling tests, and additional readings for temperature, humidity, and moisture levels will begin on Monday, November 7 at 9 a.m. and will continue through Tuesday, November 8.
  • A contractor, who will be escorted by a facilities staff member, will be entering your room for testing. All standard room entry protocols will be followed.
  • Testing will take approximately 10 minutes per room.

November 2, 9:49 a.m.

  • On Monday morning, we completed a second round of temperature, humidity, and moisture readings in the building and are very happy with the results found so far! Getting humidity below 55% is important in the prevention of mold and we are seeing an evident decrease in humidity and moisture. Almost all rooms and common spaces are reading below 50% humidity — with many in the lower 40% range — which is our goal. We have a very small number of rooms that exceed 50% and we will be following up with those rooms to check their door undercuts and adjusting dehumidifiers and carpet blowers as needed.
  • We will continue to use the dehumidifiers and carpet blowers in drying the space. As you are able, keep closet and storage nook doors open to encourage air flow and to dry any remaining moisture. The more these units are left powered and running, the faster we can complete our remediation work.
  • You may have noticed the drilling of holes along the baseboard of the drywall in the hallways. This is to expedite drying of the area behind the baseboard. Once this is dry, we will patch and replace the baseboard or replace areas as needed.
  • We have also begun drilling additional ventilation holes into the built-in cabinetry to also expedite drying of the area behind the cabinetry.
  • A separate notice will be sent to residents identified as having a rug removed from their room during the water extraction process. If you had a rug removed from your room and do not receive a notice, please notify a housing staff member.
  • The university and our elevator repair vendor is making every effort possible to expedite replacement parts needed to repair the elevator. Though parts have already begun to arrive, we believe we will have all the parts necessary by the end of the week/start of next week.

November 1, 9:30 a.m.

Starting at 10 a.m. today, facilities staff will be returning to the building to continue making door undercut adjustments. In addition, the staff will be entering individual rooms to create ventilation holes in the bottom of the built-in cabinetry to assist in completing the drying process. Finally, our staff will be removing some sections of drywall at the baseboard in the hallway.

Please be aware of these activities as you move about the building.


October 28, 9:45 a.m.

This morning, the facilities staff are transitioning from emergency response to recovery and remediation within the building.

  • Housekeeping will be posting a sign-up sheet close to the elevators for residents to sign up for a time for housekeeping to come to their rooms to mop the floors. If you'd like for us to do this, we need your help to have personal items off the floor. Staff would be using a solution including AlphaHP, a disinfecting cleaner based on accelerated hydrogen peroxide manufactured by Diversey. You are not required to do this; however, our staff would be happy to assist.
  • Our lockshop staff will be adjusting a number of doors within Slusher Tower, primarily on floors 8 - 11 today, and other floors next week. This will increase the "undercut" of the door to increase ventilation. Most doors should have a 3/4" space, but we are seeing a good number that do not have this normal gap.

We will begin testing student rooms and common spaces for humidity, temperature, and moisture after 10 a.m. today. Some rooms will receive a remote sensor for on-going monitoring. We will use a combination of testing options including pin-testing into solid surfaces, FLIR cameras, and general temp/humidity sensors. These tests will be on-going for several weeks. As readings are made, the staff will adjust dehumidifier and fan locations to address any underperforming locations and/or remove devices as the readings fall below standard metrics.


October 27, 4:27 p.m.

Water Extraction and Remediation

  • The bulk of water extraction has already been completed, with the priority being resident rooms and then bathrooms.
  • Bathrooms on the 1st, 5th, and 6th floors will remain offline to address wet student carpets. All other bathrooms have been cleaned and reopened.
  • Dehumidifiers and carpet blowers are being distributed through the building; please do not tamper with them. They must remain on so that we can fully dry the building as quickly as possible.
  • To the extent that it is reasonable, we encourage you to leave your doors open so that the dehumidifiers can do their best work.
  • Make sure you clean and dry any personal items left on your floor. Check your closets and any dresser units to ensure you find and clean any affected items inside.
  • If you experience small leaks of water into your room tonight, please contact the student leader staff. They will have absorbent pads to address these.

Building Systems

  • The fire alarm system is fully active in the building.
  • Both elevators remain offline due to water damage. Our elevator service company is working to source replacement parts as quickly as possible. We will provide additional updates as information comes available.

Personal Items and Trash

  • Please do not move personal items into hallways. This impedes our staff’s ability continue clean-up, and items in black trash bags are easily mistaken for trash or debris.
  • All trash must go outside to dumpsters. Restroom receptacles are not for personal room trash; please support the Housekeeping staff’s work by disposing of your trash in the appropriate place.

October 27, 12:37 p.m.

Returning to Your Room

All residents are now able to return to their rooms. As you return, please be mindful of the following:

  • Clean-up is ongoing, so please expect to see staff throughout the building today.
  • Please enter the building through the main entrance and use the stairwell closest to the Drillfield to access the upper floors. Elevators remain out of service.
  • If you need to use the restroom, please utilize the restrooms in Slusher Wing. McComas remains available for showers. We expect to begin reopening restrooms in the Tower late today.
  • Residential Well-being and Cook Counseling staff are currently on site to support residents as needed.

Personal Property Damage

We recognize that during the incident there may have been damage to personal property. Below you will find guidance on how you and your family can report that damage to your insurance company.

  • Consult your renter’s insurance and/or homeowner’s insurance policies. Many homeowner’s insurance policies have provisions for student residences that may apply.
  • Ensure you have all the documentation indicated to file a claim with your insurance company.

If you have additional questions about personal property damage, you are welcome to contact Virginia Tech Risk Management at riskmanagement@vt.edu.


Absence Verifications

The Dean of Students’ Office has drafted an absence verification letter for all Slusher Tower residents which will be emailed directly to your VT email. Please share this letter with your faculty as needed.

Contacts and Resources

Mental Health Resources

Along with the student leaders, the District 2 professional team is available for on-going support for students affected by the Slusher flood event.