Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 19, 2009

'Exploding' water heater closes law school a day

By Bethany Bray

The supposed bad luck of Friday the 13th came a day early for the Massachusetts School of Law, as a second-floor water heater burst the morning of Feb. 12.

No one was hurt when the top exploded off the water heater around 10 a.m., sending water gushing out of a utility closet, leaking through the floor down to a cafeteria and common area on the first-floor, said Mike Coyne, associate dean at the school.

"Water just came rushing down from the second floor. It's humorous now, but at the time it was shocking. ... The water heater exploded, essentially. Water rushed out of there so quickly, it caused a reasonable amount of damage on the first floor," Coyne said. "Frankly, it was lucky that no one was near it. (The water heater) might have been defective, because the top blew right off of it."

The impromptu waterworks forced the Federal Street school to cancel classes for the rest of Thursday.

After evacuating the building and working to minimize water damage, the fire department crew had the scene under control at 11:28 a.m., said fire Chief Mike Mansfield.

The school called in contractors to dry and clean up the mess, and they reopened as usual for classes on Friday, Feb. 13, Coyne said.

At this point, the school is not sure of the cost of the damage, but is working out a claim with its insurance company, Coyne said. Besides the first-floor cafeteria and common area, one computer was damaged in a computer lab, he said.