High Rise evacuated because of flooding after pipe bursts, classes canceled

Around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, the High Rise dormitory on Lipscomb’s campus was evacuated after a pipe had burst on the first floor. As of 7:47 a.m., High Rise has reopened to residents. All classes at the university are cancelled until this evening. The 5:00 p.m. block of classes will take place as scheduled.

President Dr. Randolph Lowry says he was informed of the situation around 3:30 this morning.

“I am so pleased how our campus has responded to it,” Lowry said. “This is a very complex campus. Students have been great. Very sorry to mess up their night, but we will have free Starbucks in the campus center for all High Rise residents.”

“The key administrators were here quickly,” he said, “and we believe we have covered the contingencies and will be back to normal shortly.”

From Lipscomb’s main website:

Update 6:25 a.m.

At 1:45 a.m. this morning a water pipe near High Rise Dormitory ruptured and has affected water service to parts of campus and will continue to do so at points during the day as we work to resolve the issue. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

For the safety and comfort of our students we are making the following accommodations:

  1. University classes are cancelled until 5 p.m. Evening classes will take place as scheduled.
  2. High Rise residents will be able to retrieve necessary belongings on an escorted and as-needed basis.
  3. Faculty/Staff offices are open. Employees are to report to work as usual.
  4. Please note: When the total water system comes back on, fire alarms will be activated. To guarantee safety, please observe fire safety procedures until further notification.

All planned campus events, including the YMCA breakfast and lunch, will take place as scheduled today. David Lipscomb Campus School in unaffected and classes will meet as scheduled.

“At 1:45 an alarm went off because an 8-inch pipe broke,” said Deby Samuels, Vice President of Communication and Marketing. “We turned [the water] off and were instructed by the fire department to evacuate. We were at 10-feet of water and [as of 3:45 a.m.] we are down to about 8 inches.”

“There were no fish,” said Jacob Cox, a junior Pharmacy major. “I just took everything. We walked in, and the fire department was [on our floor] and told us to take everything off our floor.”

Credit: Carter Sanderson

Cox says that he and his roommate decided to put everything of value on to their beds before evacuating the building.

“There was probably a foot of water in the hall,” Cox continued. “I walked over like 10 minutes later, and it was probably three inches away [from my room]. A group of us decided to stuff towels under our door and duct tape them.”

The pipe reportedly burst around 1:30 a.m., flooding the first floor and the areas surrounding the dorm. Sophomore theology major and High Rise RA Adam Sain said he and Mike Smith, the dorm’s residence director, were standing outside when the power went out.

“Water was just coming out from where grass was, not where a drain was,” Sain said. “It was running into the drains and it was moving right up to the windows because the drain couldn’t handle it. The fire department said they did not cut off the power, and Mike Smith said he hadn’t either.”

Sain says that shortly after the power outage the fire marshals began the evacuation of the first floor. Upon seeing how serious the situation could possibly be, the fire department instructed Smith to have his RA’s evacuate the other floors.

Health Services says that if students have any medication that needs to be refrigerated, they may bring it to the clinic in the lower level of Elam to store in their refrigerator.

High Rise RA Tyler Osbourne said the evacuation of his floor went over very cautiously.

“Evacuation was good but slow,” the sophomore math major said. “We were not too rushed, because if the boiler room was going to flood it would take a while. We double and triple checked, and we are all out of the dorm and safe.”

After the initial evacuation from High Rise to Allen Arena, students were then evacuated from Allen Arena. There is a YMCA breakfast and lunch in Allen Arena today that will go on as scheduled.


Reports indicate that students will not be allowed to enter the dorm until “several hours” after the power has been turned back on. There is currently no timeline for either of those things.

Since the break and evacuation, crews have been working to repair the pipe. As of 6 a.m. workers were digging a large hole in front of High Rise. Rain and thunderstorms are predicted to enter the area around 7 a.m. per Justin Bruce, WKRN meteorologist.

At 5:13 a.m. the University decided to cancel classes for the day due to lack of water on campus. Classes are scheduled to resume at 5:00 p.m. However, as of 6:00 a.m. neither students nor faculty have received any emails from the University about the cancellations. The Campus School sent out an email saying they were operating normally after a “water main break” at the university.

Sophomore Rainey Lankford told Lumination he had a friend from Harding University staying with him. After the two were woken up at 2:45 this morning, Lankford told his friend, “We do this every week at Lipscomb.”

While being essentially locked out of their rooms, students are sleeping in random places on campus, trying to find food, playing basketball in the SAC or just walking around aimlessly. Some students are without their wallet or keys with them, making it difficult to find breakfast.

Speaking of the first meal, High Rise residents lined up outside of the cafeteria at seven o’clock Thursday morning because most of their belongings were still in their rooms. This line of guys outside the Bison Cafe goes to show that when hungry, nothing can stop guys from getting their food.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @LuminationNet for the latest up to the minute updates on this developing story.

Above photos taken by Whitney Jarreld and Cory Woodroof. Quotes in this story were obtained by Woodroof as well.


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