North Texas Daily

Kerr Hall Repairs Near Completion

Kerr Hall Repairs Near Completion

Kerr Hall Repairs Near Completion
May 21
16:12 2015

Update 4:35 p.m.

Paul Wedding / Staff Writer

Nearly all the rooms in Kerr Hall damaged by the sprinkler accident on May 4 have been repaired, UNT spokeswoman Leslie Minton said.

The only two residential rooms left to be repaired are the original room that the accident occurred and the room directly below it. The original room still has to have work done on its ceiling tiles and flooring. There is wall plaster being replaced in the room below that, she said.

The dining hall also suffered some damage from the incident and is having some ceiling tiles replaced.

Minton said that the repairs are expected to be completed by the end of May.

UNT assessing damages at Kerr Hall following Monday flood


Paul Wedding / Staff Writer

Housing officials still have not determined when students will be allowed back into their dorms following a flood in wing A resulting from a sprinkler that went off when two students used a lighter to cook s’mores.

Sarah Amberson, hall director of Kerr, told reporters a restoration company is drying and sanitizing the rooms, and assessing moisture levels. She said the rain over the last few days affected the moisture inside Kerr.

As spring 2015 comes to a close, it is possible residents will finish the semester displaced from their original dorm assignments. The flooding Monday morning forced out 120 students, who have been moved to open rooms in Kerr, as well as residence halls across campus.

Total damage costs are not figured at this time, as a full assessment has not yet been completed. Likewise, the administration has not said whether or not the students responsible for the incident will be charged or slapped with fees.

The North Texas Daily is following the story. Developments will be posted as they are made available.


UNT is still assessing the damage caused yesterday morning from the sprinkler in Kerr Hall that went off after two residents tried making s’mores with a lighter.

The entire A wing of Kerr was immediately evacuated into the lobby and cafeteria, although the water directly affected 60 rooms. Residents whose rooms were not damaged by the leak have been allowed back into their rooms, but 120 others are still displaced, UNT spokeswoman Margarita Venegas said. The students whose rooms were affected by the water have been relocated to vacant Kerr dorms and to residence halls across campus.

Theater freshman Amanda Canady, an A wing resident, said students were sleeping on the lobby and cafeteria floors or outside, on benches. Canady was relocated to an open Kerr dorm. Housing officials told her she’d be in the temporary dorm for four days.

“It was about 3 in the morning, and I was hearing screaming in my hall,” Canady said. “It was my RA. She was dealing with the flood at the other end of the hall. They told us not to worry and to go back to sleep.” But, when it was time to evacuate, the staff woke them up again. “Nobody told us anything, just to get our personal belongings off the floor, and headed into the lobby and cafeteria. ‘Well, we’re homeless,'” she told a friend.

There were several rooms on the fifth floor of Kerr Hall’s A wing that suffered from water damage and were evacuated. The sprinkler went off for more than an hour, which caused the water to leak from one room to others on that floor and then leaked through the floors below it. The water trickled all the way down to the cafeteria, which had to have an area of sectioned off because the ceiling was caving in.

It is unsure whether or not the two students who caused the sprinkler to go off will be charged. Officials will compare the testimonies of the two students with that of the fire marshal before a decision is made. As of now, Venegas said, UNT regards this as just an accident.

“If you have caused people to move out of their dorms during dead week, I honestly think a public apology would be nice,” Canady said. “I think it’s been very stressful. I was on the brink of a breakdown yesterday.”

The administration will not know the cost of the damage until the assessment is complete.

Original brief

Dalton LaFerney / Digital & Views Editor

A water sprinkler was set off in Kerr Hall early Monday morning, flooding the room and others around it on multiple floors, forcing the entire A wing to be evacuated into the lobby and cafeteria. There were no injuries.

Water is sucked up by a vacuum inside the room where the sprinkler went off. The residents were cooking with a lighter

Investigators and resident assistants said the sprinkler was activated on the fifth floor of wing A at about 2 a.m. Residents were apparently using a lighter to roast s’mores, a hall assistant said. The students, whose room number has been confirmed, then contacted the front desk. The sprinkler remained on for an hour, until authorities turned it off around 3 a.m.

Fans are placed outside the doorway of each room that was flooded.

The entire A wing, about 450 students, was evacuated into the lobby and first-floor cafeteria until 7:15 a.m. As of Monday morning, 30 to 50 rooms on floors one through five were damaged by the incident.4_flood_web5

Several vans from Restoration Specialists are parked at the entrance of Kerr Hall. The company is in charge of soaking up all the water.

Residents have been allowed access to their dorms for the time being, but James Fairchild, assistant directer for housing operations, said relocation is underway. Fairchild said he is unsure of which dorm hall the affected residents will be sent.

Developments will be posted as they are available.


The water from the fifth floor of the A tower tricked all the way down to the cafeteria, forcing the staff to close off a portion of the dining area.


The ceiling of the room where the sprinkler went off is completely ruined. Crews are cleaning up the water damage that affected the fifth floor A tower down to the cafeteria. 

Featured Image: Restoration crews use vacuums to soak up standing water in the hallway of fifth floor A tower in Kerr Hall. Photos by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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