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Commons flooding Credit: Justin Cohen , Justin Cohen

On Sunday afternoon, the lower level of 1920 Commons flooded due to a water main break on 38th and Locust streets. The flooding resulted in the dining hall being closed for a day and a half.

Students and Commons staff members were forced to evacuate the building around 1:30 p.m. at the sound of a fire alarm. Facilities and Real Estate Services and the Philadelphia Water Department arrived on scene and temporarily shut down all water lines in the building to repair the area.

The dining hall, retail stores and the Late Night study area will reopen Tuesday morning in time for breakfast.

These types of water main breaks are “typical under cold weather conditions,” Ken Ogawa, executive director of Operations and Maintenance in FRES, wrote in an email.

The leak occurred on the fire main line feeding Commons, according to Ogawa. As of Monday night, they have fully restored the water lines, and a fire watch will remain in place until the fire main is completely repaired, he wrote.

At 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, Hospitality and Residential Services emailed students that Commons would not be serving dinner due to the water main break.

“We’re trying to keep everyone safe. That’s the goal,” said a FRES staff member, who wished to remain anonymous due to job security.

“Everything’s fine now, the water’s running. Now we’re just trying to prep for tomorrow,” said a female dining hall worker who also withheld her name for job security. She added that when the water pipe burst, the water had flooded through the Starbucks on the lower level.

On Jan. 4 and 5, cold weather and windows left open caused several water pipes to crack and leak in Harrison College House. The college house’s lobby, mezzanine, computer lab, first-floor conference room, the house office and several rooms below the 11th floor suffered water damage.

Several pipes also burst in Leidy Laboratories of Biology due to cold weather at the beginning of January. The building’s elevators experienced the most damage and will require two to three weeks to be fully repaired, according to FRES spokesperson Jennifer Rizzi.

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