‘It was like a free mop’: Damaged fire hoses cause flooding in Victoria Hall

Residence incurred $30,000 in intentional damage costs in October

Water levels were around one inch.
Credit @queensupartylife/Instagram

Water flooded Victoria Hall after students were involved in incidents which caused damage to emergency fire hoses on Nov. 12.

Three fire hoses were tampered with around midnight, and students were evacuated to Chernoff hall around 1 a.m., according to Will Burchell, Sci ’26.

Burchell said water covered his dorm room floor when he returned to the building at 3 a.m.

His clothes, shoes, and power bar on the ground were wet, but there were no major damages to his belongings. Clean-up by residence staff continued until around 5 a.m.

The floors below had water leakage from the flooding above, but Burchell said there was no visible damage to his dorm floor by the morning.

“The floors were pretty clean because of dish soap in the water—it was like a free mop. I didn’t have to mop my room or anything, so it was sort of helpful,” he said.

After returning from the evacuation, Burchell and other students repurposed the hallway as a slip-and-slide track, sharing videos to social media on the Instagram page Queen’s Party Life.

“We decided to make the best of the situation and just slide down the hall,” he said.

The residence building incurred $30,000 of intentional damage costs in October alone, according to an email from the Residence Conduct Office to students in Victoria Hall.

“We have heard from many students, and some of your parents, who are understandably frustrated and angry—our staff share those feelings,” the email said.

The email addressed separate damages such as broken ceiling tiles, stolen emergency exit signs, and malicious fire alarm activations.

“Kingston Fire and Rescue responds to every fire alarm,” the email said. “[It] can delay their response to an actual emergency and fire elsewhere in our community. This senseless behaviour could ultimately cost someone their life.”

Students who tamper with safety equipment in residence may face eviction. The Residence Conduct Office is implementing measures such as increased security staff and an anonymous reporting system.

Students were offered $150 Flex dollars if they provided information to identify the responsible individuals.

“If you know who has been involved in this destruction, we encourage you to tell us,” the email said.

The Residence Conduct Office said they’re considering splitting the significant building damage costs among all students in Victoria Hall.

According to Burchell, the perpetrator likely didn’t live near where the flooding occurred.

“No one on our wing would want to destroy our own wing [...] usually the type of people who do these things are the people who don't live in this building.”

Another unrelated incident occurred the same night before the hose was ripped, damaging Burchell’s common room.

“Someone else on my floor heard a smash or glass shattering. It turns out someone threw a chair out our common room window,” Burchell said.

The common room is closed until further notice due to glass damage.

Housing & Ancillary Services held meetings and issued follow-up communications for the floors affected following the incident, Leah Wales, executive director, said in a statement to The Journal.

According to the statement, damages from water were primarily confined to the common rooms.

“This is an escalation of unacceptable, disrespectful, and dangerous behaviours that we have seen in some buildings this fall,” Wales said.

She said Housing & Ancillary are working with students and Kingston Fire and Rescue to address “problematic” behaviour.

“Tampering with or damaging fire and life-safety equipment or pulling an alarm as a prank is a Criminal Code offence.”

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