Clothes strewn about and feminine hygiene products in the hallway-- that was the scene at the Bogue dormitory at Green Mountain College Thursday. A pipe in the sprinkler system in the attic of the Lyman dorm burst early Saturday morning, causing flooding and students to be relocated.
"I just felt helpless to do much of anything; it was all in the hands of the campus administration," said Brendan McGuire, a student.
McGuire and the other 61 students who were forced to move into the Bogue dorm say the experience was chaotic and traumatic.
"My room had been destroyed," student Julie Frappier said. "I wasn't sure what amount of my stuff was left."
Frappier says she woke up to the mess.
"I'm a pretty heavy sleeper and in this case, I happened to sleep through the alarm," she said.
She says no one checked on her.
"I woke up to water just pouring down from my ceiling and onto my floor and needless to say I was in a panic," Frappier said. "I did try to look for people but I realized they had already evacuated."
McGuire says thanks to a unique habit he has, he was able to make it to his obligations the next day, even without his belongings.
"It's a bit eccentric, but I sometimes sleep in my jeans and I was doing that that night," he said.
Now that cleanup efforts are underway and students are in temporary quarters, they are left trying to salvage and clean up their items. Doing laundry is a challenge. When we stopped by all the machines were full and space on the clothesline to dry their items was limited. McGuire says he didn't want to fight for a washer in the laundry room, so he slept in a sleeping bag for four days until he could finally get his sheets washed.
School officials say an incident like this is a learning experience.
"These events are always a way-- an opportunity-- to examine our procedures and in this particular case we were able to resettle students very quickly," said Kevin Coburn of Green Mountain College.
Although the relocation has been tough, Frappier says she is impressed at how her fellow students came together in a difficult situation.
"I'm just pretty proud of my school for helping and just being a great community where we were helping one another," she said.
Officials say there is an ongoing investigation into what cause the pipe to burst. Cleanup should take a few weeks and they expect the Lyman dorm to be ready for students to move back in then.
School officials say they are providing immediate replacement items that are necessary for class such as school books and supplies, but for their personal items, students will need to go through their renters' insurance if they have it. Students have been donating items to those who lost their necessities and are planning a fundraising event to help out those affected by the flood.