By Jason A. Vrtis
Arizona Daily Wildcat February 17, 1997
Flood causes power outage and closes Speech building
A waterline in the Speech and Hearing Sciences building broke under the pressure of its own weight Friday, flooding the basement and knocking out a power transformer.
Herb Wagner, assistant director of the Department of Risk Management and Safety, said a plumbing subcontractor working for Carnes Construction Inc. cut a piece of the water pipe in a basement equipment room. The pipe's remaining section was not properly supported, causing the accident, Wagner said.
The broken line showered the basement with water and caused a short circuit that destroyed the transformer, Wagner said. He said the power was knocked out immediately.
A Facilities Management crew worked over the weekend to replace the transformer and restore water pressure in time for today's classes, Wagner said. The replacement transformer and its installation will cost approximately $50,000, he said.
Power to the East Second Street traffic gates in front of the Harvill Building was also out, Wagner said. The water also flooded a tunnel to the adjacent Civil Engineering building, destroying a few minor electrical switches, he said.
Wagner said Risk Management received a call about the incident Friday at 1:45 a.m. He said he estimated the accident occurred between 1 and 1:30 a.m. and the building was vacant at the time of the accident.
Sharon Kha, special assistant to the University of Arizona president, said the Speech and Hearing Sciences building was closed Friday except to construction workers and the building monitor.
Kha said that without power and water, the building was considered an unsafe environment.