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Sprinkler system accidentally activated; water floods UC

April 29, 2002

A broken sprinkler head dumped hundreds of gallons of water into the UC ballroom and the floors below Sunday morning.

According to Ben Pratt, director of the physical plant, at around 11 a.m., custodians who were cleaning the ballroom accidentally hit a sprinkler with one of the movable partition panels, knocking off the head and sending water spewing onto the ballroom floor.

Water discharged into the room for 20 minutes. Around 11:30 a.m, the Clarksville Fire Department arrived and shut off the PI valve located on the exterior of the building.

"Water was running around the soffits in the lobby when I arrived," says Pratt. "There was water on the stage of Java City, in the SGA office and in the game room."

Servpro, a water removal/restoration firm, arrived at noon and worked till after 8 p.m., extracting water and setting up dozens of air movers and dehumidifiers in the ballroom and in the third-floor hallway.

Servpro personnel removed ceiling tiles on the first floor Monday morning to determine how water migrated from the third floor to floors below. By 1 p.m. they determined that the water had traveled down an expansion joint. "It's a good thing," Pratt said. "If the water hadn't stayed confined, it could have done more damage."

The ballroom remains closed today to allow the drying process to continue and inspectors to determine the extent of the damage.

The Academic Honors and Awards Day ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday, April 30, will be moved to Clement Auditorium.