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Warren Towers experiences power outages, flooding

warren towers at boston university
Warren Towers. Residents experienced power outages and overflowing toilets Thursday, disrupting their classes and other activities. AZREEN REHMAN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

An electrical circuit failure caused several floors within Warren Towers’ C Tower to experience power outages Thursday afternoon. Earlier that morning, the toilets on Floor 17 of B Tower began overflowing, causing flooding that extended to nearby dorm rooms.

The outage began at about 12:45 p.m. and ended around 1:45 p.m., according to Warren Towers residents. Several times throughout the hour, the lights flickered back on temporarily only to shut off once again.

9C resident and freshman in the College of Engineering Jason Bard said despite internet access remaining stable, he was forced to miss a virtual meeting due to the power loss.

“I should have charged my things beforehand,” he said. “but I wasn’t able to do that, so that was a bit unfortunate.”

Bard said it was his first time experiencing power outages in the dorm.

7C resident Alyssa Fitzhugh, a freshman in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said the outage was intermittent.

“It would be off for around five-ish minutes and then it would come back on and then it would immediately go off again,” she said. “And then it would be off for five more minutes or ten, and then back on and then immediately back off.”

While she did not receive any communication from her resident assistant about a reason behind the power outage, Fitzhugh said she did not consider it to be an issue because it happened during the day and internet access remained intact.

“It wasn’t really a problem,” Fitzhugh said.“My fridge shut down for a little bit, but other than cleaning up the water, it wasn’t that bad,”

Olivia Kirker, a resident of 13C and freshman in Sargent, said she also experienced the outage.

“All of the lights in my room went out, all of the outlets,” she said. “I wasn’t able to turn them back on obviously, and for the next hour or so, sometimes the lights would turn on for 10 seconds and then they’d go back out and eventually we got power back completely at 2:00.”

Kirker said she also noticed the outage on other floors in addition to 13C, including the fourth floor and 9C.

“Floor four was experiencing some outages,” she said, “because when I was coming up from the dining hall, those lights went out.”

17B resident Charlie Fitzpatrick, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, woke up at 8:00 a.m. to “half an inch of water” in his dorm room.

A notebook he had left on the floor, filled with notes he needed for a midterm later in the day, was destroyed, but he said he was able to use online notes from his class instead.

“No electronics, but shoes were covered in the bathroom water,” Fitzpatrick said. “Nothing permanent, I don’t think.”

Boston University spokesperson Colin Riley said the power losses and indoor flooding were “entirely unrelated incidents.”

He added the incidents were not a result of the water main break that flooded the construction site of the Center for Computing and Data Sciences just before midnight Wednesday, citing information he was given by BU Facilities Management and Operations.

“There is no connection to the water main break,” Riley said. “It’s a failure in the electrical circuit and the overflowed toilets were not connected to the flooding as well.”

Fitzpatrick noted BU Facilities Management and Operations staff responded to 17B promptly and cleaned out affected resident rooms.

“I can’t thank them enough for how quickly they did everything,” Fitzpatrick said. “In terms of the leak itself, I feel like that’s a one in a 1,000 thing. I don’t think anyone else was affected besides my neighbor, who got half of his room flooded, just the side that was closest to the bathroom.”

Riley noted the BU campus has been in use for “a 100 plus years,” meaning many buildings need to be “updated or renovated or repurposed.”

“This is a very well-maintained university,” he said, “but equipment does fail.”

Samuele Petruccelli contributed to the reporting of this article.

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