Broken water pipe forces evacuation at Edmonds college

LYNNWOOD, Wash. -- Nearly 200 students were forced to leave their residence hall after a broken water main flooded part of the building, setting off a fire alarm and forcing crews to shut off the electricity.

And it couldn't have happened at a more stressful point in the school year.

"It's frustrating, because we're in the middle of finals week," lamented sophomore Tanisha McGruder, who was among a large number of students invited to take temporary refuge in the campus gymnasium. "The dorm is where I like to study, and it's hard when you don't have that place of solitude."

Edmonds Community College officials say eight dorm rooms in the four-story building sustained water damage and are unsuitable to occupy.

The college will pay for motel rooms for the 28 students who live in those rooms. Officials were still working to get an accurate count of just how much damage and how many students need assistance.

"It's not that big a deal," said freshman Faith Clark. "They let us hang out in the gym and brought in lunch and snacks. But it's definitely cold out, and I'd prefer to be in my own room."

The water main failed Tuesday morning on an upper floor, according to Edmonds Community College media relations official Marisa Pierce. She said there is still no official cause. Students suspect it was stress on the plumbing brought on by the cold snap.

Student residents, other than those in the eight damaged rooms, will be allowed back into the dorm tonight.