Snapshot: Arctic air, broken pipe bring indoor showers to Garden Cafe area
Police officer and emergency management specialist David Jones of Public Safety captured this snapshot shortly after 7 a.m. Monday (Jan. 5) on the first floor of the Cofrin Library. Water from a broken pipe soaked ceiling tiles and rained down on carpet, flooring and chairs in the Garden Cafe seating, vending and lounge area, and along nearby concourse corridors. A quick response by Facilities Management custodians, HVAC specialists and others minimized the damage, and crews had most of the mess cleaned up within hours, although large drying fans were still in place a day later. Officials say Monday’s blast of Arctic weather — the temperature at daybreak was at least 12-below-zero — led to the indoor rain shower. It is believed that a malfunctioning fresh-air intake unit failed to properly regulate the amount of bitter-cold air drawn into the system. The result was that closed-loop, “pre-heating” pipes supplemental to the larger heating/cooling ducts burst in one or more places, sending their remaining watery contents in search of lower elevations.