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View+of+the+Johnson+Residence+Hall+on+UMKC+campus
Water flooded three floors of the Johnson Residential Hall when a student on the third floor left their shower running while the drain stopper was closed. (UMKC)

When music education major Mollie Lederer stepped out of bed on Jan. 29 in her Johnson Hall dorm, she landed with a splash of water.  

Confused as to the source of the water, the Johnson Hall resident wondered if something had spilled in the nearby fridge. However, a quick trip to the icebox ruled out that explanation. 

“I realized the water was far worse and extended all over my room,” Lederer said. “There was water from my open door to the bathroom, into the closets and all in the main area, soaking through my rug.” 

Water flooded three floors of the residential hall when a student on the third floor left their shower running while the drain stopper was closed. 

Stacy Downs, UMKC’s assistant director of strategic communications, said flooding impacted six rooms. However, residents were not occupying all of the affected rooms at the time of the incident. 

When Residential Life heard of the event, they immediately sent a team to remove water from the building, Downs said. Soon after, a company specializing in mitigation and restoration was then sent into Johnson to further water removal and make repairs. 

“The quick response of the Residential Life staff significantly reduced impact on students and their belongings,” said Downs. “It is recommended that students living in Residential Life housing have renters’ or homeowners’ insurance to cover any property damage.” 

The cleanup crew informed Lederer that it was essentially “raining indoors” on the floor above her. Down on the first floor, most of her belongings made it out of the flood, other than a few items on the ground and the sopping rug. 

Despite being on the least affected floor, Lederer said her room was so wet they needed seven industrial fans to dry the water. The fans were loud, interrupting her sleep and study for several days before she could move to a new living space. 

Over the week following the incident, the university moved students living in the flooded rooms to other units within Johnson Hall, Lederer included. 

She had to move all her belongings to a new suite by herself in the midst of the school week. Originally, her parents helped move her into Johnson Hall, but that was no longer possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.  

“We can’t have outside guests so I couldn’t have them help again; and it was during classes, so I couldn’t really ask friends,” said Lederer. “But I got all set up in a new room with a new suite-mate.” 

Lederer said she was ultimately impressed with the response speed from the school after informing them about the incident. She said she was also happy to receive a new space that did not have evidence of major water damage. 

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