Southern Seminary staff help students after water main break

Communications Staff — June 19, 2015

(Jason Coobs)
(Jason Coobs)

Student residents of apartments at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary woke up June 18 to a flooded street and parking lot when a water main break severely damaged several cars and housing units.

According to Louisville Water Company officials, the 60-inch water main at Crescent Hill Treatment Plant broke just after 3 a.m. underneath Grinstead Drive, which borders the northwest side of campus. The initial break caused low water pressure to surrounding customers, but created a sinkhole and flood problem for Springdale and Grinstead residents.

Grinstead residents Jason and Ami Andersen, from Robbinsdale, Minnesota, recall waking up to their dog barking, but soon found water rushing into their home.

“Around 3 a.m. our dog barked and growled, and since he never does that in the middle of the night my husband got up to check on him,” Ami said. “He found water rushing in the front door, right in front of the dog kennel.”

After realizing water was flooding their home, the Andersens began picking things off of the floor and placing them on their furniture and shelves. Their car also received water damage as the water rose above the front seats and swept weeds and grime throughout the engine area.

Southern Seminary quickly responded to the incident. Brian Smith, director of housing and retail, explained that the water main broke behind the Springdale apartment complex, causing flooding in both the lower Springdale and Grinstead parking lots.

After assessing the damage, Smith said a total of 10 apartments experienced water damage, two apartments in Springdale and eight apartments in Grinstead. Four of the 10 apartments had severe damage, but two were vacant at the time.

“We have relocated two families and have begun the cleanup and restoration process in their apartments,” Smith said, reporting that Southern’s priority is to provide “exceptional care” for residents. Several cars were also noted to have received water damage.

Andy Vincent, vice president for operations at Southern, expressed high praise for the quick response from the Louisville Water Company, Southern employees, and students during this significant event to minimize the impact.

Grinstead 1 by Jason Coobs
(Geoff Dennis)

“The Hospitality team as well as the operations team came together to respond quickly and keep the focus on providing for the students,” Vincent said. “The Louisville Water Company also acted with professionalism in how they handled the situation and were extremely helpful in answering our questions.”

Southern employees and students provided a helping hand to remove debris and help salvage what could be saved in the apartments. Southern also provided bottled water during the 24-hour boil water advisory.

Dan Dumas, Southern’s senior vice president of institutional administration, also shared his appreciation.

“I am proud of our @SBTS community which handled this incident with such grace,” Dumas stated on Twitter.

The Andersens are tired, but grateful for the help they received.

I think we’re grateful we were able to get a lot of things picked up, like books, and avoid much damage since our dog woke us up,” Ami said. “We’re also still uncertain how and when we’ll have a vehicle and be able to be back in our apartment. Cooking and other basic things are a little difficult right now, and we rather liked our car, but we’re hopeful we’ll get back to normal in the not too distant future. Mostly right now we’re just tired.”

A boil water advisory was issued for 24 hours, but was lifted Friday morning. Damage estimates should be compiled by early next week, but Vincent predicts that this incident will have no long-term effects. Grinstead will remain closed from I-64 to Stilz Avenue as repairs are made. Crews will continue to clean up and replace the broken main throughout the weekend. After Grinstead is repaired, work will be made to repave and patch the Grinstead and Springdale parking lots.

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