Mechanical issues cause water damage inside 2 buildings at Western Washington Univ.


    Mechanical issues cause water damage inside 2 buildings at Western Washington Univ. (PHOTO: KOMO News)

    BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Cleanup efforts continued Wednesday at Western Washington University (WWU) after this week's frigid temperatures caused mechanical equipment to burst inside two buildings.

    Large vacuums and fans transformed several classrooms into work zones Wednesday on the 4th floor of the university's Environmental Studies building.

    The equipment is being used to clean up water left behind after a sprinkler head connection in the building’s mechanical room froze and burst on Tuesday afternoon.

    "We’re standing in a wide open atrium and concrete walls floor to ceiling, so it just flowed nearly straight down hill," John Furman said while showing a KOMO News crew where some of the water went. Furman is WWU's Director of Facilities Management.

    The building is one of two at WWU that were hit by this week’s frigid temperatures .

    On Monday, a burst pipe caused about $20,000 in damage to several floors in the Viking Union.

    "Probably the coil or something around it froze during the night and when we warmed it up in the morning, it melted and burst," Furman said.

    Only remnants of the Bellingham’s recent snowfall remained Wednesday at Zuanich Point Park.

    The city crews have been working around the clock since Sunday to apply sand and deicer on 6 snow routes that cover much of Bellingham's main and secondary streets, a public works spokesperson said.

    And more snow could hit later this week.

    "I’m not excited about it. I’m ready for warmer weather," said Ashley Freeman, who lives near Deming.

    "As long as the sun’s out, I’m happy with it. You can just layer up and the sun feels good," added Asher Friedman, who lives just outside Bellingham city limits.

    Knowing more snow could hit the region later this week, Furman said he's asked his crews to keep an eye on any of WWU's mechanical rooms that have outside air intake and possibly adjust those levels if necessary.

    Some of the university’s buildings are decades old.

    "I couldn’t attribute old equipment – that’s not the reason it froze. It froze because of the weather," Furman told KOMO News. "But it’s a multiplier, I’d say."

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