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Water main break floods RLC, prompts library evacuation

An emergency evacuation of the Albin O. Kuhn Library has left many UMBC students without critical university resources for a minimum of 24 hours. At approximately 2:20 p.m. on Oct. 2, library security began evacuating the building due to a water pipe burst in the Retriever Learning Center and the subsequent threat of an electrical fire.

According to Vivien Barrett, a library technician, a “pipe burst in the men’s bathroom of the RLC forced the evacuation” as water sprayed horizontally across the computer-stocked learning center.

A different source working to control the water flow stated that someone pulled a valve off of a fixture in the men’s restroom, causing the leak to begin. Video of the incident shows mass amounts of water seeping through the ceiling of the library’s basement: Click for video

“I was just sitting at the computer and I saw some law enforcement on the opposite end and then the person behind the desk was like there is flooding [because] of a water main break or something,” said Megha Pandya, a junior biochemistry major who was in the library at the time of the evacuation.

Amanuel Molla, a senior psychology major who was in the basement of the library at the time of the event said, “I went down to the basement to get some studying done. I had my headphones in so I didn’t notice anything out of place until a few minutes later. At first, I thought someone had left the sink running in the bathroom so I went to check. The lights in the bathroom had water raining down out of them and the surround ceiling tiles.”

“When I stepped out of the bathroom, I noticed there was more severe leakage spots above two or three rows of shelves. There was heavy damage to the ceiling tiles and carpeting. I called the desk with the emergency landline and a few minutes later they announced an evacuation due to a water main break somewhere in the RLC,” Molla continued.

However, Albin O. Kuhn was not the only building affected by the water main break. Erickson Hall, the residence building closest to the library, began experiencing water issues as residents reported malfunctioning sinks and toilets. 

The RLC is one of only two 24-hour study spaces within the library.

There has been no mass alert issued to the UMBC community other than an alert posted on the library website informing visitors that it will be closed all of today, Oct. 2, and tomorrow, Oct. 3.