About 50 University of Michigan students may be forced to find new housing when they return from the holiday break because their fraternity house was severely damaged by broken water pipes over the weekend.
Ann Arbor police say the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house had also been burglarized, but it was unclear if the incidents were linked.
Police reported they were called about 3:30 p.m. Saturday to the house at 556 S. State St. for a possible break-in and found water cascading down the stairways and running through main hallways.
Officers found nearly every bedroom in the structure had been broken into and they suspect numerous items were missing. They won't know for certain until residents can provide an inventory list upon their return from winter break, Detective Sgt. Jim Stephenson said.
It appeared the burglar used a fire escape to enter a second-story bedroom window, which was shattered, Stephenson said.
Police tape still lined the fire escape leading up to the now boarded window Monday afternoon.
Pipes in a second-story bathroom and the first-floor kitchen ruptured, and leaked water down to the basement, reports said. It is unclear if the pipes were damaged by burglars or if they burst from weather conditions once the property's interior was exposed to the elements, Stephenson said.
The damage was severe enough to cause ceilings in some rooms to collapse.
City fire officials responded to the scene and asked building inspectors to condemn the property as soon as possible because of a safety risk, reports said.
City building inspectors were to examine the house Monday to determine if it must be closed because of the severity of the damage. Building department officials did not return calls from The News on Monday.
Fraternity members last reported being in the house last Tuesday evening. Possible residents and a contractor at the house Monday declined to comment.
University officials are helping the fraternity contact its members and provide assistance with housing.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Ann Arbor police at 734-994-2878.
Art Aisner can be reached at email@example.com or 734-994-6823.