Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo of The Middlebury Campus
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023

News in Brief: Fire sprinklers activated in Stewart, causing flooding in residential areas

At approximately 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, fire sprinklers in Stewart Hall were accidentally discharged, although no fire was involved. Students were required to evacuate the building until the situation had been stabilized and flooding subsided around 11 p.m. the same night.

In an email to The Campus, Dean of Students Derek Doucet said the college is “still investigating” and “[has] not yet made a determination” about the reason for the flooding. However, first-year residents of the building claim that an errant golf ball struck a ceiling pipe in a fourth floor hallway, causing the pipe to burst. While that rumor has not been confirmed by school administration, Residential Life staff scheduled a “community meeting” on Wednesday afternoon to share further information about the situation, according to an email sent to Stewart residents.

An email from Associate Dean for Student Life AJ Place sent on Sunday afternoon to Stewart Hall residents said all standing water had been removed by Facilities Services by 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night, while industrial dehumidifiers and humidity monitors were installed to dry the remaining areas. According to Place, wet soft goods were laundered and returned. Students may report other damaged belongings by completing a form distributed by ResLife, which asks for a shopping link and photo of the damaged item but does not say whether students will be compensated. 

Residents of the 15 most impacted rooms were offered temporary board in spaces across campus or the option to remain with friends. As of Monday, Oct. 24, most residents had returned to their rooms, while the remainder stayed in their temporary spaces until Wednesday or Thursday, when “the remediation process [was] complete,” according to Place.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. It will be updated as The Campus learns new information about the ongoing investigation.

Brinlea La Barge

Brinlea La Barge '23 is the senior news editor. 

She previously served as news editor and sports editor.  La Barge studies English and Linguistics at Middlebury and is a peer writing tutor and captain of the women's tennis team.

She spent the summer of 2022 as a communications intern for the Josh Shapiro for Governor campaign, and previously worked for Nantucket Magazine and WHYY, Philadelphia's local PBS and NPR affiliate.