This morning at approximately 3:00am, the Fall River Fire Department received an alarm call from our box at B.M.C. Durfee High School.
At 3:40am, FRFD discovered a six inch fire stand-pipe on the fourth floor stairway of the science wing located at the West Main Entrance.
Said stand-pipe suffered a catastrophic failure at its zenith.
The FRPD and our maintenance team were able to locate the shut off valve (approximately 4:00am), stopping the flow of water.
The FRPD and our maintenance team opened the building’s doors to the outside, draining an accumulated 3 feet of water from the stairwell and the 4 inches of water that dispersed throughout the building.
We estimate roughly 40k gallons of water entered the building, affecting a total of four floors of classroom and office space. Note: This was not a cold weather malfunction but the result of a 40-year-old pipe that ruptured. Due to building’s design deficiencies and the confinement’s of the building systems, time was added to our inability to shut the flow of water as the valves are in a compartment under the stairwell.
At 4:10am, we determined that we would not be able to open Durfee for students and faculty.
As such, we began our communication chain at that time. Concurrent with this, our maintenance team began the clean-up and recovery efforts with the assistance of an outside contractor. This work is ongoing and will be for the foreseeable future.
We are presently conducting a full damage assessment to account for the totality of this catastrophic failure of our plumbing system.
As you may imagine, we lost computers, equipment, materials, supplies, files, other assorted instructional technology, and the personal and professional possessions of faculty, staff, and students.
As we continue to assess damage, organize a classroom schedule contingency, and ensure the full safety of our school facility, B.M.C. Durfee High School will be closed for students, faculty and staff tomorrow, Thursday, January 11, 2018 as a result of today's flood.
Tomorrow, we will assess our ability to open on Friday and will communicate using social media and our call system when we are able to make a fully informed decision tomorrow afternoon.
Matthew H. Malone, Ph.D., Superintendent