Early this morning, after a nice breakfast out, I stopped by with my husband, as I usually do, at the Isenberg School of Management, where I teach, to drop off some lecture notes and to pick up a book. It was about 7:40AM.
As we were about to enter the school through the entrance closest to the parking lots we saw three young adults (not UMass students - I asked) exiting (2 males and 1 female). They were quite upset and said that while they were in the atrium they heard a sounds like water rippling and then the noise got louder and parts of the ceiling above the other entrance door collapsed. My husband quickly called 911 and asked to be connected to UMass Police and he shared the news about the water pipe break, most likely due to a sprinkler system. The fire alarm was blaring throughout the building and the fire alarm lights were flashing. When we entered with water around our ankles there was an unpleasant odor such as a mix of rubber.
We walked around the school to the other entrance, which is closest to the Whitmore Administration Building and faces a patio. We were greeted by a waterfall over the door with water that was now flowing out both doors and moving past the atrium. One could see part of the ceiling over that door dangling.
First to arrive was EH&S, followed by two fire trucks from the Amherst Fire Department, and then UMass police, which we spoke to. They were all on-site by 8AM.
Needless to say we also notified several of our Isenberg School administrators and sent over photos, which I have posted below.
This event was very disconcerting because directly below the space that was flooded - and the patio outside was turning into an ice rink - are computer labs, a lot of high technology equipment, and computer servers.
We received a message from TSS that many of the servers are down and, indeed, I can't get on the Supernetwork Center site that we update regularly. At around 8:30AM or so we were very happy to see Susan Boyer who heads TSS, who had to drive in a ways to campus this morning. She was very concerned about the servers and an email message was sent out to the school.
Coincidentally, I am now teaching my Humanitarian Logistics & Healthcare class in which we take alot about emergency preparedness and, yes, even about the winter storm Juno of last week and the importance of accurate weather forecasting, along with business continuity.
Speaking with physical plant folks, about the status of the flood at the Isenberg School, they are assessing the situation and the area is closed off. This is a very special place and school for many of us so I hope that operations are restored soon.
We have the first guest speaker coming this Wednesday to speak in my Humanitarian Logistics class. I checked my Supernetworks Lab and since it is on the opposite side of the basement in the Isenberg School in a slightly elevated part, it looked untouched by the water.
At 9AM physical plant was cleaning up and drying out the first floor part.
Times like these, we learn to be resilient and to practice disruption management!
Many thanks to the town of Amherst and UMass first responders for arriving on the scene so quickly. Let's hope that our computer servers will also be restored to full functionality soon, as well.